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WhatelY, E. J. 1822-1893 
The gospel in Bohemia 




Skefr^^s 0f §0]^emmn: gl^Itgbws Pistey. 




" COUSIN Mabel's experiences," etc. 



56 Paternoster Row, 65 St. Paul's Churchyard, 

And 164 Piccadilly. 




N introducing the following sketches of Bohemian 
Eeligious History to the reader, I must premise 
that it is not the object of the present work to give a 
full and complete history of the country, either political 
or religious. Such an undertaking would require far 
more research and far more abundant materials than in 
the present case it is possible to bestow and to obtain. 

The aim of the work before us is much simpler and 
more circumscribed. Happening to meet, some years 
ago, with an old chronicle much prized by the Moravian 
Church on the Continent, I thought that the substance 
of its narrative would be interesting and valuable, and 
probably new to most readers, and accordingly made an 
abridged and free translation of the principal part. 

The Persecutions-huchlein, or Book of Persecutions, as 
the original document is entitled, is a history of the 


sufferings endured by the followers of the pure gospel 
in Bohemia, from the first introduction of Christianity 
in the Middle Ages, to the final defeat of the Protestants 
by the armies of the Emperor Ferdinand ii. It is 
supposed to have been drawn up and compiled under 
the superintendence of Amos Commenius, the celebrated 
bishop and writer of the Bohemian Brethren's Church ; 
it was written originally in Latin, by certain pious 
members of the Church, and was translated into German 
by Bernard Czermenka. It has been freely rendered, to 
make the narrative more clear and interesting to modern 
readers ; and with the same view some redundancies, 
amplifications, and lengthened comments on the incidents 
related have been omitted as unsuitable to the taste 
of the present day. Some histories of remarkable 
judgments have also been omitted, from the fear that 
they might give an air of romance to the whole. They 
were certainly credited at the time ; but it is very possible 
that in periods of terrible distress and agitation, the 
excitement of men's minds may have caused their 
imaginations to magnify trifling incidents, and made 
them too ready to discern supernatural interferences 
without sufficient reason. 

With the exception of these omissions, the narrative 
is faithfully reproduced. The papers first appeared in the 
Family Treasury ; and are now brought out in a separate 


form, with some additions, partly to furnisli explanations 
and fill up blanks, and partly to bring down the narra- 
tive, as far as possible, to the present day. For the 
former, I am much indebted to the works of Mr. 
Hardwicke on the Church of the Middle Ages, and Mr. 
Pattison on the History of Evangelical Christianity. 
Bost's History of the Moravians, published by the 
Eeligious Tract Society, also affords much information 
respecting the origin and history of the "Brethren's 
Church." The additions to the narrative subsequent to 
the date of the Chronicle are gathered from the materials 
kindly lent by members of the Moravian Church. These 
details are but scanty ; but this is the inevitable result 
of the circumstances of the case. The record is one of 
a country in which political and religious liberty were 
crushed almost at a single blow by the iron hand of a 
relentless despotism, and the voice of truth was silenced 
till its very existence in the country was almost for- 
gotten by the rest of the world. 

It is the record of a history which has scarcely a 
parallel in the world's annals ; the history of the death 
and resurrection of the oldest pure and Evangelical com- 
munity existing, with the sole exception of the Walden- 
ses — a community kept alive for centuries in the midst 
of a furnace of persecution, then apparently crushed 
to death, and then arising with new life from the 



ashes, to win triumphs for the gospel among the 

Such a record of " life from the dead " cannot but 
strengthen the faith of Christian readers ; and if any 
should be led to study the subject further, or still 
more to realize more intensely the faithfulness of Him 
whose promises are "yea and amen" to His people, 
these pages will not have been compiled in vain. 




THOSE who have looked from the fortress-like heights 
of the Saxon Switzerland, and seen the fair land of 
Bohemia spread out before them with its forest-covered 
hills and green valleys, will have been struck, not only 
with its beauty, but with the peculiar character of the 
country. Set in, like a picture in a frame, with moun- 
tains on all sides, it seems as if intended to stand alone, 
independent among the countries of Central Europe. 
The countenance and language of the people, distinc- 
tively Slavonic, among so many German provinces, 
seem to point out the country as one isolated from its 

But the fate of Bohemia has been involved, in a 
remarkable manner, in the history of surrounding 
nations. Few countries have had a sadder or more 
eventful history — a history peculiarly interesting to 
the Christian reader, as being especially connected 
with the spread of gospel truth in spite of serious 
hindrances and perils. 

The Chronicle, an abridgment of which we now offer 
to our readers, commences with the first establishment 



of Christianity in the country ; but the records of that 
early time are sadly meagre and imperfect. 

Indeed it is noteworthy how very scanty are the 
details we possess relative to a subject so interesting 
to all Christians in our own country and on the Con- 
tinent, as the evangelization of the central, north- 
eastern, and northern parts of Europe, including in 
these last our own British Isles. 

This arises partly from circumstances in the history 
of the Christian Church. The first triumphs of the 
Gospel w^ere rapid as well as lasting : the command, 
" Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to 
every creature," was promptly obeyed by the apostles ; 
and in their lifetime the blessed message had been 
rapidly proclaimed through Western Asia, Greece, and 

But in the next ages the outward progress was slower. 
Eor the first three centuries the Church had to hold her 
ground through fierce storms of persecution ; and when 
at last Christianity became dominant in the reign of 
Constantino, its pristine purity was already on the 
wane. The line of demarcation between the Church 
and the world grew fainter in prosperous days ; and too 
many of the remaining true-hearted disciples, who might 
have been "the light of the world," were led by the 
growing spirit of monasticism to hide that light in the 
seclusion of a hermitage or a convent. 

Then came the fall of Rome and the fearful incursions 
of hordes of barbarians from the rorth. But out of 
this terrible evil good was to spring : a new element 
was infused into the worn-out life of the empire, and 
among the wild races of northern barbarians the future 
of Europe lay. 


In the midst of the darkness and confusion which 
attended the close of the old Roman empire and the rise 
and progress of fresh nationalities, the Church still 
held on her way; and though she was debased by 
many corruptions and by the increasing power of a 
worldly hierarchy, the lineaments of genuine Christian 
life may be traced, and witnesses for the gospel 
discovered, in the darkest times.^ 

But the very existence of Christianity as an orthodox 
confession of faith was imperilled again and again ; 
the terrible persecutions by the Arian Vandals in 
North Africa, and afterwards the rise of Islamism, 
threatened to destroy the feeble life, and would have 
been successful had it not been sustained through all 
adverse influences by a higher power. 

Looking on all these external adverse circumstances, 
and on the additional hindrance of constant disputes 
within the Church, we can hardly wonder that it was 
not till the seventh century was far advanced that any 
effective and persevering efforts were set on foot for 
evangelizing Northern and Central Europe. 

It is in or about the seventh century that w^e 
trace the commencement of the powerful missionary 
movement which characterised the period intervening 
between that century and the tenth. Imperfectly as in 
many respects it was carried on, and much as the 
growing monastic spirit marred its purity, it was still 
a noble w^ork, and forms the brightest spot in those 
dark days. But the troublous character of the times, 
the scarcity of literary attainments, and the consequent 
difficulty of preserving records of work, make it nearly 
impossible to collect anything like a clear and con- 

1 See Neauder's Eistory of the Early Church. 

B 2 


nected history of the European Missions of the Middle 

We know that in the seventh century the Irish 
evangelist Coluinbanus, with his countryman Gallus, 
planted the gospel in Swabia and Switzerland ; that in 
the eighth century the English Boniface laboured in 
Germany ; that the ninth was marked by the labours of 
Anskar, the apostle of the north, in Scandinavia and 
North Germany ; and that at nearly the same time, the 
gospel w^as first preached among the numerous and 
important branches of the Slavic or Slavonian race. 
This extensive family of mankind, extending from the 
Elbe to the Don on the east, from the Baltic to the 
Adriatic southwards, had remained almost ignorant of 
Christianity till the beginning of the ninth century. 

It is worthy of notice that there appears to be a 
certain analogy between the early history, respectively, 
of the Slavic nations in the east of Europe and the 
Keltic in the west. Both races were to a certain extent 
overwhelmed by the more powerful Teutons ; but, on the 
other hand, the two weaker races had certain elements 
wanting in the stronger, by which the latter seem to 
have been influenced and modified. But the subject is 
too large to be more than touched on here. 

It was a remarkable feature in the early evangeliza- 
tion of both the Keltic and Slavic races, that they were 
originally far more independent of the influence of 
Kome than the Germanic tribes, whether in England or 
on the Continent. In our own country the influence 
of the Irish and Scotch missionaries, though largely 
thwarted by the pretensions of Kome, predominated in 
the north ; while the authority of Eome was acknow- 
ledged in the south. The struggle was a protracted 


one, and ultimately the Eoman power gained the 
ascendency ; but, in Ireland especially, it was long 
before it was entirely established. 

In the Slavic part of Europe the struggle began quite 
as early and lasted longer. 

The first effort made for the evangelization of these 
regions was in 800, by Amo, Archbishop of Salzburg ; 
another was subsequently made by Hrolf, Archbishop 
of Lorch and Bishop of Passau. Through their agency 
the first mission was begun in the Slavonian country 
of Moravia, then governed by an independent king ; 
but little progress was made till about 861-863, or, as 
the Chronicle states, 894, when two brothers, priests of 
the Greek Church, Cyrillus and Methodius, arrived to 
carry on the work. 

It is recorded in the Annals of Nestor (the most 
ancient of the Slavonian chroniclers), that the Moravian 
princes Eotislav, Swiatopolk, and Kotzel, sent to the 
Emperor Michael ill. at Constantinople, requesting him 
to send them teachers who would instruct them and 
their people in the Scriptures. On conferring with the 
Greek clergy, they recommended him to send the two 
brothers ; Methodius, on account of his knowledge of 
the Slavonian language ; Cyrillus, because he was weU 
acquainted with several oriental languages. 

Whether they constructed the Slavonian alphabet 
is doubtful ; but it is certain that they translated the 
Psalms, the Gospels, and other portions of the Scrip- 
tures into Slavonic. This important work was accom- 
plished to the great satisfaction of the Slaves ; for, 
says Nestor, " the Slavonians rejoiced on hearing the 
greatness of God related in their own tongue," That 
these missionaries were actuated by a truly Christian, 


rather than a mere ecclesiastical, spirit, is manifest 
not only in the dissemination of Scripture truth, but 
also in their disregard of the prejudice which represents 
the common language of a people as too profane to be 
employed for sacred uses, and in the employment of the 
vernacular in public worship. They naturally intro- 
duced amongj their converts the rites of the Eastern 
Church, but at the same time they recognised the supre- 
macy of the pope. In spite of numerous obstacles 
they proclaimed the gospel, ordained priests, and 
administered the sacraments, not only in jMoravia, but 
also in Bohemia, and were very successful in the con- 
version of many from paganism to Christianity. 

But the work was hindered by the jealousy which 
existed between the Greek and Latin Churches ; and it 
w^as found necessary for the missionaries to go to Eome 
to come to an understanding with the pontiffs. They 
did this about six years after their arrival in Moravia. 

From this time we lose sight of Cyrilhis, who either 
died or entered a convent (about 871-873) ; but Metho- 
dius was consecrated by the Pope Metropolitan of 
Moravia, and returned to resume his missionary labours. 
He was not long allowed to prosecute them in peace ; for 
his attachment to the Greek ritual and his constant use 
of the Slavonian language excited the displeasure of his 
German fellow-labourers. He went again to the pope 
(in the year 879), by the desire of the latter, to plead 
his own cause, and actually succeeded in convincing the 
pontiff of the soundness of his doctrinal views, and of 
the propriety of conducting worship in the language 
of the people : for the general use of Latin was only 
beginning to creep in. On this point the pope actually 
defended Methodius; he also confirmed him in his 


arclibishopric of the Moravian Chnrcli, witli powers of 
administration independent of all other ecclesiastical 
authorities and responsible only to the see of Eome. 

Methodius returned to his work in Moravia ; and it 
was at this time, as will be noticed in the Chronicle, that 
he appears to have been instrumental in the conversion 
of Borcziwoi, the Duke of Bohemia, the vassal and guest 
of the King of Moravia. He continued his labours 
amid much opposition, is said to have completed the 
translation of the Scriptures, went again to Eome about 
881, and was either forbidden to return to his see or 
died soon after. 

The struggles between the Germano-Romish and 
Slavo-Greek factions appear to have seriously retarded 
the progress of the gospel in Moravia. The king of that 
country was ultimately defeated, and the independence 
of his kingdom destroyed, by the Bohemian and Hun- 
garian armies ; and from this time the religious history 
of Bohemia and Moravia may be looked on as one, — the 
Bishop of Bohemia being head of the Churches in both 

Meanwhile the struggle between Christianity and 
heathenism in Bohemia, as we see in the Chronicle 
before us, was long and severe. In 950, the heathen 
duke, Boleslav the Cruel, was defeated by the Emperor 
Otho I., and the accession of Boleslav the Pious in 967 
established Christianity on a firm footing. 

The bishopric of Prague (the capital of Bohemia) 
was founded in his lifetime ; it was filled in 983 by a 
learned German, Adalbert. Noted for his missionary 
zeal, he laboured with the king's help to extirpate the 
remnants of paganism. But his measures were too 
hasty and harsh; and this, with the dislike of the 


people to anything German, soon compelled him to 
resign his post. In 994, the Eoman Synod ordered him 
to resume his functions, and he reluctantly returned to 
Bohemia, but was soon again rejected. He finally died 
a martyr in 997, while seeking to convert the Prussians 
in the neighbourhood of Dantzig. Neander gives some 
interesting details concerning this faithful evangelist, 
who, though intolerant, and sometimes too vehement 
and harsh, seems to have had an earnest and zealous 
missionary spirit. 

In 966 the gospel passed from Bohemia to Poland. 
A Bohemian princess, Dombrovka, was married to 
the Duke of Poland, Mieczyslaw; and, like the pious 
wife of Clovis, and our English Bertha, she was the 
means apparently of converting her husband and in- 
troducing Christianity. Like Boleslav the Pious, the 
Polish duke injured his cause by his intemperate 
violence in suppressing pagan worship ; but eventually 
the new religion was firmly established. 

In all these Slavic countries, the establishment of 
Christianity was closely followed by the attempts of the 
Church of Pome to force the Latin ritual on the people ; 
and in every case it was combated. Between 1030 
and 1058, great efforts were made in Poland and 
Bohemia to bring the people to acquiesce in the western 
customs; and gradually the Komish liturgy made its 
way ; but the love of their own ritual was never 
entirely extirpated ; and indeed we may date from this 
time the commencement of that struc^'de in Bohemia 
which only ended with the fatal battle of the White 
Mountains, in the seventeenth century. 

The outline of this long and important struggle is 
given in the Chronicle before us ; but a few preliminary 


words may be needed to make the general drift of the 
narrative clearer, and to supply omissions. 

The traces of this history are marked by the blood of 
many martyrs ; but it would not be correct to affirm 
that the struggle was wholly a religious one. Political 
and national feelings had a very large share in it. The 
Slavonic races Avere passionately attached to their own 
language, habits, and institutions ; and having been first 
converted by members of the Greek Church, the colour 
of their religious feelings, so to express it, was very 
much taken from the Greek ritual. 

The German races, on the other hand, had all more 
or less yielded, like the Komance peoples of the south, 
to the influence of Eome. The national feelings of the 
Slavonians were therefore enlisted in the struggle, and 
led them to resist German influence, and cling fondly 
to their own liturgy and language ; and doubtless num- 
bers took that side in the struggle, moved only by 
national affections and prejudices. 

Neither must it be too hastily assumed that the early 
opponents of Eome were what we should call enlightened 
reformed Christians. The light of gospel truth came 
very slowly. At first (as already observed) worship 
in their native tongue was the chief point contended 
for ; but afterwards the emissaries of Eome sought to 
introduce popish ceremonies, to prohibit the marriage 
of the clergy, to refuse the cup to the laity in the 
observance of the Lord's Supper. These innovations 
were strenuously opposed; and, one after another, 
preachers were raised up, who (like Savonarola in 
Italy) inveighed against the corruption of morals among 
the laity and clergy, and especially the latter. Milicz 
and his successor, Matthias, who will be further alluded 


to in the Chronicle, were among the chief of these. 
They did not attack Eomish doctrines as Wycliffe did : 
but they paved the way for more direct teaching, both 
by exposing the practices of the Eomish clergy, and by 
dwelling on the necessity for heart repentance and faith 
in Christ, rather than on the importance of outward 

Matthias thus writes of Christ as the only Mediator: 
'' If thou pourest out thy soul to any one in warm feeling 
and words, as if wishing to find the crucified Jesus, 
thou wilt depart from him embittered in mind, finding 
in thyself that thou hast there lost the grace of Jesus 
Christ, and thy toil and fine w^ords as well. Thus neither 
wilt thou venture, openly and solemnly, to confess Christ 
crucified, because then thou wilt, without scruple, be 
treated as a heretic, and wilt not depart unreviled or 
unspat upon : and then, by experience, thou wilt feel 
this exceeding great tribulation and most bitter 
experience of all faithful bodies, consciences, and souls 
in Jesus." ^ 

Thus these teachers prepared the way for the next 
witness to the truth, John Huss. 

Huss was born in 1373, and began life evidently as 
a devout Eomanist ; but the works of Wycliffe exerted 
a powerful influence on his mind, and when exhorted 
to condemn them, he replied, " I wish my soul may be 
where that excellent Briton is ! " 

But though he loved and honoured the English 
preacher, he was far from being equally advanced in 
his convictions. At first he thought the opinions of 
Wycliffe too daring, and not without danger; but the 

^ Pattison's Evangelical Christianity. 


more he studied them the more assured he was that 
they were in harmony witli the Scriptures. 

Like many other witnesses for Christ in the middle 
ages, he preached faithfully gospel doctrines, which, 
though nominally admitted, had been practically denied 
or ignored by the Eomish teachers. In all ages, but 
especially at this period, there were many who, while 
devoutly attached to the Church of Eome, did at the 
same time preach and inculcate a full reliance on the 
finished work of Christ and union with Him through 
a living faith. In the words of a living writer : 

"All through the dreary ages when the scholastic 
philosophies employed, in~ fruitless questions, the in- 
tellects and leisure of the learned, there is to be found 
in their writings, hid under a mass of rubbish, an 
acknowledgment of the necessity of accepting the 
doctrine of Christ's merit in atoning for sins." 

The gospel was there, underlying much that might 
be termed " wood, hay, and stubble ; " and in many 
instances it was not only held and practised, but 
faithfully and earnestly preached. 

To this class of gospel Christians Huss originally 
belonged; and but for the bitter persecution of the 
Eomish Church, he might never have been known as 
an opponent of her doctrines. 

At the time when his influence was first becoming 
powerful and general, from his discourses in the Bethle- 
hem chapel, Prague (of which he was nominated minister 
in 1400), his " orthodoxy," in the Eomish sense, was 
unimpeachable ; we find him bearing a commission 
from the Primate Sbynco, and conducting an inquiry 
into the genuineness of a reputed miracle at Wilsnack.^ 
1 See Hardwicke's History. 


But his indignation at the degeneracy and corrupt 
morals of the clergy eventually alienated Sbynco, who, 
imputing the sensation produced to the spread of 
Wycliffe's tracts, ordered them to be collected and 
burnt. The pope, Alexander v., was appealed to in 
1409, and an interdict was obtained from Rome for- 
bidding Huss to preach in the Bethlehem chapel. To 
this Huss paid no heed. On his protesting against the 
conduct of the primate and his clergy, he was charged 
with heresy, and summoned to appear before Pope 
John XXIII. He, however, did not deem it safe to obey 
the summons. The King and Queen of Bohemia were 
Huss' s supporters; but the pope issued a sentence of 
excommunication against him, or this failing, a command 
to appear at Bologna to answer for himself. 

The archbishop, however, was reconciled to him 
through the mediation of the king and queen; but 
in 1412 Sbynco died, and, as mentioned in the Chro- 
nicle, Pope John's traffic in indulgences called forth the 
vehement denunciations of Huss and his friend Jerome. 
The latter lost no time in propagating his enthusiasm 
among the students, who, in order to exact a kind of 
vengeance for the seizure of Wycliffe's writings, organized 
a mock procession in the streets of Prague, and burnt 
the papal instruments. 

It appears that this violence alienated the king from 
Huss ; and, although he had not himself sanctioned the 
irregularity, and afterwards regretted its occurrence, the 
most formidable censures of the Church aliohted on his 
head. He could no longer prosecute his public missions, 
but addressing an appeal to Jesus Christ Himself, the 
only righteous judge, retreated from the theatre of strife 
and lived in retirement in his native village. He there 


occupied himself with writing defences of the doctrines 
of Wycliffe, and exhorting the crowds wlio flocked to 
hear him to rely on the Scriptures alone as their rule 
of faith. 

In his principal work, the Tradatus de Ecclesid, he 
insists on the fact that Christ, and He alone, is the Head 
of the Church, but also urges the importance of obeying 
the pope and cardinals " as long as they teach the truth 
according to the law of God/' " The works which Huss 
composed in his retirement," says Hardwicke, in his 
Church History of the Middle Ages, " have enabled us to 
mark the final stages in the growth of his belief. To 
many of the characteristic dogmas then prevailino^ in 
the Church he yielded his unwavering assent, confining 
his denunciations mainly to those points which he 
regarded as excrescences, abuses, or distorted forms of 
truth. His principles, indeed, had they been logically 
apprehended and consistently applied, must have con- 
strained him to relinquish some of the positions 
advocated by the western schoolmen; but, unlike his 
English fellow-worker, Wycliffe, Huss had not been 
largely gifted with the logical faculty, and there- 
fore he continued all his life unconscious of his own 
divergencies. So far was he, indeed, from meditating 
the formation of a sect, that he had hoped to renovate 
the Western Church entirely from within, 

A reference to these facts may well explain the readi- 
ness he showed to vindicate himself before the Council 
of Constance, whither he was now summoned to proceed. 
That great assembly constituted in his eyes the lawful 
representative of Christendom ; and as he had no lono-er 
any hope of finding justice at the papal court, he went 
in search of it elsewhere. We see him starting for the 


council (October 11, 1411), armed with testimonials of 
his ' orthodoxy ' from the Primate of Bohemia and the 
titular Bishop of Nazareth, who was officiating as the 
inquisitor of the heresy in the diocese of Prague. He 
also bore the passport or safe conduct of Sigismund, 
King of the Romans (and afterwards emperor), which 
guaranteed his personal protection in the strongest 

This promise was deliberately violated, on the pre- 
text, alleged by the council, that Huss, by impugning 
the orthodox faith, had rendered himself an outcast 
from all privileges, as promises of safety were only 
binding when made to those who kept the Catholic 

We all know the subsequent history ; how he readied 
Constance, attended by a band of faithful friends and 
adherents, and how his enemies in Bohemia, who had been 
labouring to counteract and repress his work, had found 
means of arriving before him and poisoning the minds of 
his judges. Palecz, his former colleague in the university 
of Prao'ue, was one of his bitterest enemies and most 
unscrupulous calumniators ; Huss, then, found many 
of the council already prejudiced against him, and 
fell an easy prey to their machinations. He was 
taken into custody and kept for nearly eight months 
in prison. 

The report of his verbal answers in his examination, 
even as given by his enemies, and the tracts he wrote 
in prison, show that in almost every point he held the 
same views as those professed by some of the members 
of the council before wliom he stood as a criminal. 
They agreed with him in their desire to reform the 
clergy and retain the papal power ; but their strong 


national prejudice against him as a Bohemian, and their 
horror of Wycliffe, whom he would not condemn 
(though he was far less advanced than the great English 
reformer), overcame all other considerations, his doctrines 
were condenmed as heretical, and, as he would not recant, 
he w^as condemned to perish at the stake. 

The history of that last condemnation is generally 
known. A darker page in the annals of Eomish perse- 
cution scarcely exists. On July 6, 1415, the council 
assembled to pronounce sentence. The emperor came 
in great state, and accompanied by the princes of the 
empire and many of the nobility ; cardinals, bishops, 
priests, and doctors appeared in large numbers. The 
Bishop of Lodi preached on the extirpation of heresy 
and heretics, closing with an appeal to the emperor to 
destroy Huss. The accusation against the reformer was 
then read, but reply was forbidden. Sentence was then 
pronounced, and immediately put into execution. He 
was first degraded from his priestly office, the vestments 
were put upon him, and when he was completely habited, 
the bishops removed the cap and robes one after the 
other with maledictions and insults. The mark of the 
tonsure was then cut from his head, and his finger-nails 
were scraped with a knife. He was thus formally 
degraded from the service of the Church, and having 
been delivered up " to Satan and to hell," he was handed 
over to the secular arm. 

The executioner and his assistants at once led him to 
the stake, w^here he and everything he had about him 
was burnt. But nothing^ could shake his calm and 
majestic patience. He felt that nothing could sej)arate 
him from the true Church of Christ, and his last breath 
at the stake was spent in singing a hymn of praise to 


God. His ashes were flung into the Ehine, that nothing 
might remain on earth of so execrable a heretic. 

His enemies now turned to his companion and friend 
Jerome of Prague, to wreak their relentless fury on him. 
Ardent and enthusiastic as he was, his courage failed 
.for a moment, and he consented to recant ; but it was 
only a temporary weakness ; he recalled his abjuration 
publicly and boldly, and was handed over to the secular 
power. As he went to the place of execution he 
repeated the Apostles' Creed ; at the stake he told his 
executioner to light the pile before his face, for had 
he been afraid of the fire he would not have been 
there now. 

In the very flames he was heard chanting the Easter 
hymn, and his heavenly joy struck even his bitterest 

When the tidings of the execution of the martyrs 
reached their own country, hostility to the Germans and 
to Sigismund broke out openly, and a revolutionary 
war, which lasted for thirteen years, and was attended 
with ferocious cruelties, commenced. The administra- 
tion of the cup in the Lord's Supper to the laity, on 
which Huss himself, though he practised it, seems to 
have laid less stress than his disciples, was taken up 
vehemently by several of his successors, and especially 
by Jacob of Mirs ; as early as the autumn of 1414 this 
teacher had begun to lay especial stress on this usage. 
The other side was taken by the Council of Constance, 
and the " chalice " grew into a watchword of that 
numerous party in Bohemia who revered the memory 
of Huss. 

For several years the Hussite party kept the forces 
of the empire at bay ; but their religious differences 


were fatal to their cause. The moderate party, called 
Calixtines aud Utraqiiists, from calix, a cup, and utraciue, 
both (referring to communion in both kinds), adhered 
to Huss and Jacob Mirs, claiming that the word of 
God should be freely preached in the country, the 
communion administered with both bread and wine, 
and strict discipline enforced. 

But the more extreme party, called Taborites, from 
Tabor (a camp), the name given to a Bohemian mountain 
where they first held their religious meetings, and 
afterwards pitched their camp, were much more deter- 
mined and persevering in their resistance. 

Under the renowned General John Ziska (who seems, 
however, to have been more of a political than a 
religious hero) they gained brilliant victories. At one 
time Sigismund suffered so large a loss of men that 
he was not unwilling to accede to a truce, and m.ake 
the following concessions : — 1. That Divine service 
should be conducted in the vernacular ; 2. That the 
Lord's Supper should be observed with both bread and 
wine ; 3. That the clergy should have no secular juris- 
diction ; 4. That violations of morality should be 
punished as severely as breaches of the criminal laws. 

But this did not continue long. In the end the 
Taborites w^ere suppressed by tlie Bohemian Govern- 
ment, and after the middle of the fifteenth century 
they disappear as a political body. From this extreme 
section, when the fierce and fanatical element had been 
eliminated, there sprang eventually that venerable 
Church of the Brethren of Bohemia, which, jointly 
with the kindred Church of the Waldenses, upheld 
gospel truth through the darkest ages of bigotry and 




A sketch of this ancient Church, whicli links the 
memory of Huss and Jerome of Prague on one side, 
with the honoured missionary labours of the ^Moravian 
Church of our own days on the other, is given in the 
Chronicle to which these pages are an introduction. 
There will necessarily be some repetition at first, but it 
was needful to go over the same ground in order to give 
some explanations of points only slightly touched on by 
the writer of the Chronicle. 



The conversion of the Boliemians to Christianity is 
supposed to have taken place in the year 894.^ In that 
year the Duke Borcziwoi was visiting the king of the 
neighbouring state of Moravia, when he was brought to 
the knowledge of the gospel through the agency of 
Methodius, a Christian priest, who accompanied him on 
his return to his country. 

The Duchess Ludomilla and a number of the most 
distinguished Bohemians became converts; but the 
establishment of Christianity was not to be a tranquil 
one. The jealousy of the heathen population brought 
about a civil war, in which the newly converted duke 
was driven into exile. He was subsequently recalled, 
but compelled to abdicate in favour of his son Wratislav, 
who was married to Drahomira, or Dragomira, a princess, 
who was one of the staunchest supporters of the old 
heathen creed. 

At Wratislav's death, Dragomira took the reins of 
government into her own hands, and set on foot severest 
measures for the suppression of Christianity. The 
Christians, driven to extremity, took up arms, and 
a struggle followed in which they were victorious ; but 
the heathen princess, enraged at her defeat, contrived to 
have her pious mother-in-law, the Duchess Ludomilla, 

^ See Introductory Chapter. 

c 2 


assassinated while at prayer in her own private chapel. 
The name of this Christian princess is the first which 
stands on the long and glorious muster-roll of martyrs 
to which Bohemia can lay claim. The struggle ended 
with the government remaining in the hands of the 
elder of Drahomira's two sons, Wenzel, also called 
Wenzeslav. This prince had been educated by his 
grandmother Ludomilla, and was an earnest and deter- 
mined upholder of the gospel.^ He seems to have 
acted with forbearance and generosity to the defeated : 
but his mother's bitter hatred to Christianity made 
her the implacable enemy of her own son. She dared 
not attack him openly, and therefore had recourse to 

Her younger son, Bolislav,^ was entirely in her interest, 
and, though a nominal Christian, was willing to be the 
tool of his wicked mother. He was about to celebrate 
the christening of his infant child, and invited his brother 
Wenzel to the ceremony. 

The young duke arrived, and was received with much 
show of kindness by his mother and brother ; a magni- 
ficent banquet was served, and the guests separated 

Suspicious of some sinister design, Wenzel would not 
retire to his chamber, but passed into the church, 
intending to spend the night in prayer. If he thought 
the sanctity of the place would preserve him, he was 
mistaken ; his treacherous brother, stirred up by their 
mother, found him kneeling at the altar, and stabbed him 
then and there in cold blood in 936. 

This murder was followed up by a bitter persecution 
of the Christians, which lasted till the death of 

1 Afterwards called Bolislav the Cruel. See Introductory Chapter. 


Drahomira, who, according to a legend, was swallowed 
up by an earthquake. 

The Emperor Otho at last interfered, and by force of 
arms put a stop to the tyranny of Bolislav; he also 
insisted on the duke's children being placed under 
Christian instruction. Ultimately, when one of them, 
Bolislav the Pious, became reigning duke in 967, 
Christianity w^as definitely and finally established, and 
heathenism gradually died out.^ 

But almost as soon as the conquest with paganism 
had ended, a new straggle began. The enemy, wounded 
apparently to death, had risen up in a new form, and 
Bohemia w^as now about to enter on that terrible struggle 
with Eome which was to last for many centuries. 

When the Bishop of Eome first claimed spiritual 
sovereignty over Christendom, about the eleventh 
century, resistance was made in Bohemia to the com- 
pulsory celibacy of the clergy and the denial of the cup 
to the laity. The pope endeavoured to force on the 
people the rites, ceremonial, and language of the Eomish 
Church. This last imposition was especially obnoxious 
to the Bohemians, attached as they were to the use of 
their own tongue. A deputation w^as consequently sent 
to Eome to remonstrate against the new regulations, and 
to request that religious worship might still be conducted 
in the mother tongue. The request was granted, and the 
use of a litany in their own language permitted. This 
still exists. 

But the license havincr been withdrawn at a later 
period, Duke Wratislaw — afterwards crowned king for 
his services to the empire — demanded through his 
ambassadors in Eome the re-establishment of the 

See Introductory Chapter. 


privilege. The answer lie received from Gregory was 
as follows : — 

'' Bishop Gregorj^ servant of the servants of God, to 
Wratislaw, Duke of Bohemia, salutation and apostolic 
blessing. Among other requests that your highness 
has made us is, that we should restore, according to 
ancient practice, the celebration of the service in the 
Bohemian tongue. Know thou, beloved son, that we 
can in nowise consent to your request. We have, by 
careful searching of the Scriptures, come to the convic- 
tion that it has been and is pleasing to the Almighty 
to carry on His worship in a language which shall not 
be understood by all, at least not by the unlearned. 
For if it is sung openly by all together, it may easily be 
despised and thought little of ; or if it be misunderstood 
by some imperfectly taught, errors may slip in which it 
may be difficult to eradicate from the hearts of men. 
It is true that in the earlier times of the Church, 
indulgence was shown to a simple and ignorant people ; 
but since experience shows us that evils and even 
heresies have grown out of this indulgence, it has been 
decided that Christian order will not permit of its being 
any longer allowed. What your people demand cannot 
therefore be granted, and we forbid it by the authority 
of God and St. Peter, and command you to suppress 
this folly as much as possible." 

The Bohemians did not submit to this spiritual 
tyranny without a struggle. When Pope Celestine 
endeavoured, in 1197, to enforce the celibacy of the 
clergy in Prague, through his legate. Cardinal Peter of 
Lataira, the unwelcome ambassador narrowly escaped 
stoning. It was not till 1350 that the celebration of 
the communion in one kind could be enforced. 


About this time two remarkable men began to attract 
public attention in Prague — John Milicz, a canon of 
the cathedral, and his colleague Conrad Steckna. 
Milicz,^ a man of high family and ardent spirit, was, 
on account of his rare attainments and purity of life, 
chosen as the preacher at the cathedral church in the 
citadel. He urged the people to frequent communion, 
in both kinds, and declaimed with power against the 
abuses in the Church. He left behind him writings in 
which he declares that he went to Eome with a strong 
impression on his mind that the great Antichrist was 
already come and reigning. He had prayed to God 
with fasting and supplications that, if this impression 
was not from above, the Lord would free him from it. 
But he found no rest for his soul. His impression was 
strengthened by what he saw. Leaving Eome, he wrote 
to some of the cardinals, declaring that the Antichrist 
was come and actually "sitting in the Church of 

He defended this view in several discussions. At last 
he and his adherents were condemned by a bull of 
Gregory xi., and he was given up to the archbishop, 
who threw him into prison, from which he was only 
released in 1366, from fear of a popular rising in his 
favour. He persisted in maintaining his views, and 
died quietly eight years later. 

Of Steckna we know less than of his companion. But 
Milicz's mantle appears to have fallen on his successor, 
Matthias Janov of Prague, commonly called " Parisius," 
because he had studied for nine years in Paris. He 
was confessor to Charles iv., Emperor of Germany, 
even before he had been invested with the imperial 

1 See Note A, Appendix. 


dignity. He maintained the right of the laity to the 
cup in the Lord's Supper with even more zeal and force 
than his predecessor.^ 

When Charles iv. became emperor, Janov is said to 
have waited on him with a deputation of his colleagues, 
to ask for a general convocation for tli.e reformation of 
the Church. The emperor replied he had no power to 
grant this, but would apply to his Holiness the Pope, 
to whose province it belonged. 

The emperor did write, accordingly ; but the j)ope 
was extremely indignant, and insisted on the punishment 
of the heretics. The emperor's fears prevailed, at last, 
over his affection for Janov, and he banished him the 

Janov, however, subsequently returned; but spent 
the rest of his life in retirement. On his death-bed he 
comforted his friends with these words : 

'' The wrath of the enemies of the truth has prevailed, 
but only for a time. An humble and despised people 
shall be raised up, without arms or earthly force, which 
man shall not be able to overcome." 

These words were truly prophetic. Meanwhile, 
witnesses to the truth were never wholly wanting. 
Many met in secret to receive the communion in both 
kinds, which was now strictly forbidden. These meet- 
ings were frequented at peril of life. On their way to 
them many were seized, beaten, robbed, and even 
drowned in the rivers. The communicants were at last 
driven to go armed and in large numbers. This state 
of things continued for many years. 

But a greater witness to the truth was to appear, and 
combat the enemy with arms not of this world. Two 
1 See Note B, Appendix. 


years before Janov's death, which occurred in 1394, 
the famous Bethlehem Church was founded. Its first 
preacher died in 1400, six years after Janov's decease, 
and was succeeded by John Huss. 

This remarkable man, as is well known, began with 
denouncing the pride, luxury, and profligacy of the 
nobles and rich citizens. As long as these denunciations 
were directed only to the laity, he was looked on as an 
inspired oracle; but when he turned his attention to 
the clergy, and attacked their vices with the same 
]3lainness and boldness of speech, he was accused by 
them, like his Master before him, of being "possessed 
with a deviL" 

Some of the magnates were the first to bring com- 
l^laints against Huss before the king; but Wolfrain, 
Archbishop of Prague, stood up in Huss's defence, 
declaring that he had been pledged at his ordination 
not to respect persons, but to preach the truth boldly. 
Wlien he attacked the clergy, Wolfrain was the first 
to echo the complaints he had silenced before. The 
king, however, retorted by referring to the prelate's 
own words — that Huss was pledged to speak without 
espect of persons. Thus the courageous preacher 
escaped far the time. 

But in the very year (1400) in which he became 
preacher of the Bethlehem chapel, Jerome of Prague 
returned from a visit to England, bringing with him the 
works of Wycliffe, which he circulated widely. Huss 
was among those who read them. The good seed had 
fallen into prepared ground ; and from that time Huss 
appears to have made material progress in the clearness 
of his views of gospel truth. 

Four years later, two English students, Jacob and 


Conrad of Canterbury, came to Prague, and matriculated 
in that university. They were disciples of the English 
reformer, and spoke boldly of the abuses of the Eomish 
Church, till they were silenced by a public prohibition. 
But, though silenced, they were not disheartened ; for 
they had recourse to another mode of teaching. With 
their landlord's sanction, they had a picture painted in 
the dining-room of their lodging-house, depicting on 
one side the sufferings of Christ, and on the other the 
splendour of the Papal court. This picture seems first 
to have roused John Huss to the conviction of the con- 
trast between the character of Christ and His teaching 
on the one hand, and His so-called " Vicar " on the other. 
Many were drawn to the house to see for themselves 
this silent witness to the truth. 

In 1408 Wycliffe's works were formally examined and 
condemned, and their reading forbidden, under pain of 
banishment, by a council of forty magistrates and a 
number of the university doctors« Huss appears to have 
ascribed this decision to the preponderance of German 
influence ; and seeing that the Germans were assuming 
the chief power in the university of Prague, he publicly 
proposed that the majority of votes which should decide 
a question should be reckoned among the Bohemians 
alone, and not include Germans or other foreigners. 
Much indignation was excited among the Germans by 
this proposal. King Wenzel was appealed to ; and at 
the expiration of a year he decided in favour of the 
Bohemians. The Germans, offended, left the university 
for those of neighbouring countries ; and this led to the 
foundation of the colleges of Erfurt and Leipzig. The 
Bohemians chose John Huss as the rector of the 


The monks, alarmed at these steps, worked on the 
Archbishop von Hasenberg, an ignorant man, to condemn 
again, and even mxOre pnblicly, the works of Wycliffe. 
-^neas Sylvius affirms that two hundred copies were 
given to the flames, all beautifully written and bound in 
costly covers with gold clasps. 

In the year 1411, Pope John xxiii. proclaimed a 
war against the King of ISTaples, and issued an indulgence 
for all who should eng;asre in it. One of the sellers of 
the indulgence came to Prague, and exhorted all men to 
come to this war as to a crusade. Such indignation 
was excited by the proclamation and the indulgence tliat 
in three churches preachers came forward to declare that 
the Pope of Eome must be Antichrist, because he urged 
Christians to make war on one another. These three 
preachers — one of very humble station — were seized, 
thrown into prison, and, in spite of the intercession of 
the university and even of the common people, were 
dragged before the judges, condemned, and executed. 

These proceedings aroused a vehement outburst of 
feeling. A party of students took possession of the 
corpses, and carried them to their burial with solemn 
chants and expressions of sympathy. 

The plot was now thickening. Huss lectured publicly 
in the church, Jerome in the university, on a series 
of theses against the indulgences. The lectures were 
numerously attended ; and the public sympathy, in spite 
of opposition from those in power, grew and deepened. 

In 1413 Huss was summoned to Eome ; and as he 
did not obey the summons, the pope visited his dis- 
obedience on Prague, by laying it under an interdict. 
Seeing that his presence increased the spirit of dissension, 
the brave reformer voluntarily left Prague. Prom 


town to town he proceeded, preaching the Word of God 
faithfully and boldly, till the time came when he was to 
be summoned to the Council "of Constance, under the 
emperor's safe-conduct, to defend his opinions. With 
a resolute though sorrowing heart he took a last leave 
of his friends and his beloved country, and set out to 
meet his doom. He suffered death at the stake, as is 
well known, in direct violation of his safe-conduct, on 
July 6, 1415.^ His friend Jerome of Prague was also 
burned, on the 30th of May in the following year. 

Thus the work of reformation in Bohemia was 
sealed by the blood of two of her best and noblest 
defenders. But the ragje of their enemies was not 
satiated. The struggle was now a twofold one; both 
religious liberty and Bohemian nationality were at stake, 
and the object of the adherents of the papacy was to 
crush both. But this was no easy task. The tide of 
popular feeling was strong. Fifty-eight of the most 
distinguished nobles of Bohemia drew up a paper, which 
they signed and sent to the council, bitterly complain- 
ing of the unjust condemnation of their blameless and 
faithful pastor, Huss. The Moravian nobility did the 
same. But neither body of remonstrants received any 
answer. On the contrary, certain priests who had taken 
an active part on the papal side were requested by the 
fathers of the council to take the direction of the 
affairs of the Church for the suppression of heresy. 

And now a bitter strife began between the partisans 
of Rome and the '' Hussite " party, as it was called. 
This party included many whose patriotism and desire 
for liberty was a far stronger principle than any zeal for 
religion. From this time, in fact, the struggle was a 
^ See Introductory Chapter. 


national one. A violent popular insurrection took place 
in July, 1419, in Prague, and the mob actually seized 
and massacred some of the town-council. 

Martin v. had meanwhile been elected pope by the 
council. He began with conciliatory exhortations to 
the Hussites ; but he afterwards changed his soft words 
for threats, and fulminated excommunications against 
them, exhorting all the States of Germany to rise up 
and crush the movement, and .promising forgiveness of 
sins to the worst criminal who killed a single Bohemian. 
This appeal eventually led to the famous Hussite war. 

In the meantime Sigismund, at the death of Wenzel, 
had assumed the government of Bohemia, and taken 
active measures to suppress heresy. 

The Hussites had begun to divide themselves into 
two parties. The larger and more moderate of these 
comprised those who were chiefly anxious to restore the 
communion in both kinds, who were thence denominated 
Calixtines or Utraquists} These men were generally 
for peaceful measures, and willing to agree to some 
compromise with the papal party. 

The more zealous and determined partisans gathered 
together in a position of defence, and many of them 
took refuge on a rocky height about ten miles from 
Prague. They gave this hill the name of " Tabor," 
surrounded it with a wall, and built a fortified town, 
which they were prepared to defend by force of arms. 
The members of this party were hence called " Tabor- 
ites," and were regarded with hostility and dread by 
Calixtines as well as papists.^ 

1 The device on tlieir standard was a chalice, in token of their desire 
that the cup shoukl he granted to the laity, which they seem to have 
regarded as the main point at issue. 

^ See Introductory Chapter. 


The Taborites, however, made overtures of peace, and 
sent deputies to the city of Kuntenberg. But the 
people of the town were chiefly on the papal side. 
They seized the deputies, and threw them over the 
precipices near their town. Fresh deputations were 
sent, and all treated in the same manner. The " Mart3rrs 
of Kuntenberg," as they were called, were commemo- 
rated, and sermons were preached on the anniversary of 
their death, even down to the middle of the seventeenth 

But many besides the Taborite ambassadors were 
now to seal their faith with their blood. A few 
instances may suffice. 

John Krasa, a leading merchant of Prague, spoke 
plainly, during a journey of business he made in Silesia, 
against Huss's condemnation, and in favour of the right 
of all to partake of the cup in the Lord's Supper. He 
was overheard, seized, and thrown into prison. 

The next day, Nicolas of Bethlehem, a student of 
Prague, who had been sent to Breslau to plead this 
same right, was put into the same prison. The young 
confessor was received by his fellow-captive with a 
warm welcome, " My brother Nicolas," he said, " how 
great is theMionour to which we are called, that we 
should be witnesses for our Lord Jesus ! Let us joy- 
fully submit to this light affliction — the conflict is short, 
the recompense eternal. Let us remember Him who, 
to shed His precious blood to redeem us, suffered so 
cruel a death for us ; and remember, too, what others 
have borne for His sake." 

Thus did Krasa encourage and exhort his young 
companion. But, alas ! the courage of poor Nicolas 
failed when he was led to the place of execution and 


saw the terrible preparations. The pope's legate, who 
stood by, profited by the weakness of the poor young 
man, and working on his hopes of escape, induced him 
to recant his " Hussite errors." 

His companion stood firm as a rock. Entreaties and 
threats had no effect. He was tied by the feet to a 
horse, and dragged through the streets. The legate 
followed him, entreating him to " have pity on himself 
and recant." But Krasa only replied, "I am ready 
to die for the gospel of the Lord Jesus." Bruised, 
wounded, and half dead, he was brought to the place of 
execution, and there burned at the stake. 

Soon after, twenty-four of the principal citizens of 
the town of Leitmeritz were arrested on a similar 
charge, and imprisoned in the fortress by order of the 
burgomaster, a hard-hearted and cruel man, and a 
bigoted adherent of the papacy. They remained long 
in prison, and at last, half dead with hunger and cold, 
were laid bound on carts and dragged to the banks of 
the Elbe to be drowned. The people were greatly 
moved. The friends and families of the prisoners 
crowded round with loud lamentations and entreaties. 

Among the condemned was the husband of the 
burgomaster's daughter. The heart-broken wife fell at 
her father's feet and implored him, in an agony of grief, 
to spare her husband's life. " Stop your weeping ! '* 
cried the hard-hearted father. " You know not what 
you ask. Cannot you find a worthier husband ? " 
The young wife rose from her knees. " Ton shall never 
again give me in marriage, my father," she said, reso- 
lutely ; and with weeping and lamentation she followed 
in the melancholy train that accompanied the victims 
to the place of their death. 


The martyrs were taken from their carts and placed 
in boats. During the preparations they all raised their 
voices and called on heaven and earth to witness their 
innocence. They then took a last leave of their families 
and friends, exhorting them to firmness and zeal, and 
especially reminding them to trust more to the word of 
God than to the commands of men. They then prayed 
for their enemies, and devoutly commending their souls 
to God, they were carried in the boats into the middle 
of the stream, and, bound hand and foot, were flung into 
the river. The executioners stood on the shore with 
pikes, to prevent the possibility of any, in their dyiug 
struggles, reaching the shore. 

But they could not separate the devoted wife from 
her husband. She sprang into the river, and throwing 
her arms round him, made a vain effort to rescue him 
from the waves, nerved by a love stronger than death. 
It was vain ; the water was too deep ; the faithful pair 
sank together : and their corpses were found next day, 
still locked in each other's embrace. Death had failed 
to part them ; they were united for eternity. 

These were not the only martyrs for the truth at this 
terrible time. The pastor Wenzel of Arnestowitz, a 
blameless and pious man, was condemned, with his 
assistant, for having administered the communion in 
both kinds. Three peasants and four boys were to 
share his fate, for having received the cup from him. 

"Either I am right, or you must cancel the Scrip- 
tures," said the pastor, boldly. To the last they made 
every effort to induce him to recant ; but he replied he 
would rather die a hundred deaths than deny the 
truth as clearly written in the Gospels. Pie seated 
himself calmly on tlie scaffold, taking his brave young 



companions on his knees, and surrounded by his other 
fellow-victims; and all of them died firmly in the 

Several others followed. Many were put to deaths 
too horrible to recount, but all seem to have shown 
the true spirit of Christian martyrs. " Pray for your- 
selves," said one, as he was led to the place of 
execution, '' and for those who lead you astray, that 
God may in His mercy bring you out of darkness 
into light." 




The two parties of Calixtines and Taborites were 
now becoming more and more sbarply defined. The 
Calixtines were desirous of retaining as much as possible 
of the Romish rites and ceremonies. Even those among 
them who were most sincere and upright were not 
exempt from this bias; but, unhappily, this was not 
aU. Secret emissaries of the pope and emperor had 
joined their ranks, and laboured to promote division 
and mutual hatred, and to stir up the people against 
the advocates of pure gospel truth, whom they 
designated by the hated name of "Picards," the name 
which had already been given in derision to the 

Thus the excitement and tumult on both sides 
increased daily. John of Selau, a monk and parish 
priest of a church in the new town of Prague, a man of 
great eloquence and fervour, preached to large congre- 
gations in favour of the pure gospel doctrines. He 
became obnoxious to the Romish party, who, on pretext 
of convoking a secret council, enticed the preacher and 
twelve of his followers into the town-hall, and there 
hastily condemned and beheaded them. Their fate was 
discovered to the people by the blood which streamed 
from under the closed doors. A crowd pressed up to 
the town-hall, broke open the doors, and sought for the 


bodies. The head of Selau was borne through the town 
by a priest named Gaudentius, who called on all to 
take vengeance for the deed. Some of the councillors 
were beaten and others put to flight by the mob; the 
corpses of the victims were displayed in the church, 
and solemnly carried to their burial. 

The preacher, when he rose to speak, could hardly 
command his voice when he heard the loud weeping 
and sobbing around him, and saw some borne out faint- 
ing from the church. Eepressing his emotion, he gave 
out for his text Acts viii. 2, " And devout men carried 
Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over 
him." At the end of the sermon he lifted up the 
bleeding head of the victim, and with tears and earnest 
words entreated his hearers to keep in mind all they 
had heard from their faithful pastor, and not to allow 
even an angel from heaven to teach them otherwise. 

The spirit of division, as might be expected, grew 
fiercer. In 1427 Przibran and Prokop, the two 
"administrators" of the council, with two other dis- 
tinguished men, were seized and banished for their 
adherence to gospel teaching, by the Calixtines. 

It would have been no wonder had so divided a party 
been annihilated by the papal adherents ; but, happily, 
through the overruling mercy of God, the appearance 
of an imperial army, sent by Sigismund in compliance 
with the pope's desire, before mentioned, alarmed the 
Hussites into union. For a time all strife was for- 
gotten, and all agreed to place Prokop and John Ziska 
at the head of affairs.^ This extraordinary man, who^ 

^ John Ziska, or "the One-eyed," as is well known, lost his only 
remaining eye in battle, hut continued his military operations with 
unabated zeal and a skill truly wonderful in one so disabled. 

D 2 


in spite of blindness, was tlie first general of his day, 
succeeded, by his dauntless resolution and consummate 
generalship, in defeating the Imperialists. Prague lay 
at his mercy, and the Hussite cause, for the time, gained 
the day. The emperor, foiled in the field, had recourse 
to other means. 

In 1432 a council was called at Basle, to which the 
Bohemians were courteously invited, that they might 
be convinced of their errors by kindness. All personal 
security was promised them. After Huss's death such 
promises were little likely to inspire confidence; but 
John Eokycana of Prague and Nicolas Episcopius of 
Tabor went as representatives respectively of the 
Calixtine and Taborite parties. 

Their reception w^as friendly. They requested the 
consent of the council to four principal articles, which 
were as follows : — 

1. That the celebration of Divine service in their own 
tongue, and the administration of the cup to the laity, 
should be restored. 

2. That the clergy should not mingle in political 

3. That the Word of God should be freely taught. 

4. That open vice in the clergy should be openly 

The legate asked, contemptuously, "Are these all 
your articles ? You are said to believe that the monks 
came from the devil." " Where else should they come 
from," replied Prokop, "when they have never been 
founded either by patriarchs or prophets, or by Christ 
and His apostles ?" 

In spite of this bold rejoinder the outward harmony 
of the meeting was not overthrown. A debate was 


held for fifty days between disputants chosen on each 
side, but with no result. The enemies of the faith 
were now to try persuasion, and one of the deputies 
was unhappily an easy prey. 

Eokycana, the deputy of the Calixtine party, though 
he had been a talented and eloquent preacher of gospel 
truth, lacked the " single eye " which is needed for its 
champion. He was worldly and ambitious, and, dazzled 
by the prospect of being made Archbishop of Prague, 
easily consented to yield the point at issue. " None 
can tempt like the fallen ; " and he used arts of flattery 
and cajolery to induce his companions to yield. 

He was only too successful. The four articles were 
granted on condition of their promising complete obedi- 
ence to Eome. The other representatives fell into the 
snare ; and the council and the emperor sent ambassadors 
to Bohemia to announce that the people of that country 
were now received as faithful children into the bosom 
of the Church. 

The Bohemian senate met on this occasion, and 
Eokycana pointed out to them that they had now 
received a solemn promise in confirmation of the rights 
for which so much blood had been shed. He urged 


them to be satisfied, in language very different from 
that he had formerly employed, when he had spoken 
of the pope and the emperor as the Woman of Babylon 
and the Beast of the Apocalypse. Many of his hearers 
were uneasy at the spirit of compromise he now showed. 
The Taborites especially were displeased. They had 
again recourse to arms ; but this time they had not 
Ziska for their leader : they were totally defeated, and 
their military force entirely crushed, in the year 1434. 
The following year Eokycana was chosen archbishop 


by the senate. The emperor, who appears to have 
distrusted him, refused to confirm the decision, and 
Eokycana was fain to fly from Prague and remain for 
three years at a distance. 

Soon after this Sigismund died. His successor, 
Albert, only survived two years, leaving a son, who was 
brought up at the imperial court. 

George Podiebrad took the regency during this 
interregnum. He was entirely under the influence of 
Eokycana. The pope was furious against Podiebrad 
and the Calixtines, who in their turn inveighed against 
the pope and the monastic orders ; while both parties 
agreed in oppressing those who followed the pure gospel 

Eokycana now began to play a double game with the 
remnant of the conquered Taborites. He declared he 
would willingly embrace their tenets if they could prove 
their truth, and proposed an open discussion before the 
senate on their points of difference. The Taborites fell 
into the snare, and appeared before the council with 
full confidence in their righteous cause. Umpires were 
chosen, and it was declared that on whichever side the 
decision should be made, the opposite party should be 
held bound to give in its adhesion. 

But the whole affair had been privately arranged to 
give the advantage to the Calixtines. The decision 
was given in their favour, and the Taborites perceived 
they had been victims to a stratagem. They dared not 
refuse the conditions. On returning to their own city 
they endeavoured to obtain some days' respite, but 
Podiebrad had the city surrounded with an army, and 
they were at last forced or alarmed into a surrender. 
The Taborite clergy were seized and imprisoned, and 


most of them recanted altogether ; a few only went over 
to the Calixtines. 

In the meantime the election of Eokycana as arch- 
bishop was not ratified by the pope. Many efforts were 
made to obtain his consent ; but he would only give it 
on condition of Eokycana yielding the point at issue as 
to the administration of the Lord's Supper. 

In 1448 Cardinal St. Angelo came to Prague, with 
the view of wresting from the Bohemians the articles 
which had been granted them, and which were entitled 
" The Compact." Eokycana now changed his tone — he 
was again loud in his invectives against the pope, 
called him the great Antichrist of the Scriptures, and 
used such strong language in favour of reform that 
many thought a new Huss had arisen. 

Alas ! they were mere words. He was not one prepared 
to act as well as speak. He had, however, a near rela- 
tive very different from himself — Gregory of Easerherz, 
his sister's son, a man of noble birth, and one to whom 
his religion was indeed a reality. 

Gregory and some of his friends were so deeply 
impressed with Eokycana's sermons that they came to 
him to open their minds to him and seek for his 
counsel. He received them with the utmost cordiality, 
praised their zeal, recommended the study of certain 
writings on the divisions of the Church, and spoke 
altogether in a manner to increase their ardour. At 
the same time he advised, for the present, silence and 

Meanwhile he endeavoured to form an alliance with 
the Greek Church, in hopes of obtaining support against 
the pope. His overtures were met in a friendly spirit, 
but there was little hope of any really efficient aid. 


Eokycana, however, made the most of it, and declared 
the Eeformation was at hand. " We are only working 
on the surface/' he said ; " soon those will appear who 
will dig deep and firmly fix the foundation of the 

For seven years he continued to soothe the true 
reformers with these fair words ; and when further 
pressed, always replied that " he was giving the matter 
consideration, and that he knew not what to advise, 
there were so many difficulties on all sides." 

His hearers, more in earnest than himself, declared 
they were ready to follow him, and acknowledge him 
as their guide, teacher, and spiritual father. But he was 
not prepared to take so dangerous a part. He put them 
off with vain excuses. " You are appointing me," he 
said, "to a charge too onerous for me. The cause is 
fraught with peril ; you are too bold : we must wait." 

Meanwhile it had been plainly shown how little the 
Greek Church could be looked to for help. Constanti- 
nople had been taken by the Turks (in 1453) ; and two 
of the Greek refugees who came to Prague were cordially 
welcomed by Eokycana, and allowed to celebrate mass. 

But it was soon apparent that a superstitious and vain 
ceremonial had completely destroyed the simplicity of 
their faith. This opened the eyes of Eokycana's pious 
hearers. They again went to him, and entreated him 
to have compassion on those souls led astray, and not 
to leave them in so perplexing a condition. 

Eokycana might now have taken the place of Huss. 
But he had neither courage nor singleness of heart for 
such an undertaking. He was not prepared to bear the 
reproach of Christ. He proposed to his too eager dis- 
ciples to go their own way, and let him go his. He 


would intercede with George Podiebrad (now made 
king) for a place of safety for them, in which they 
could live peaceably, and worship according to their 
conscience. This promise he kept. He succeeded in 
obtaining for them the district of Litiz, in the Silesian 
mountains. Here all who were anxious for a real 
reformation repaired in 1459. They assembled to- 
gether, and occupied themselves with the study of the 
Scriptures and with good works, receiving teachers from 
those of the Calixtines who were willing to lay aside 
all superstitious practices and vain ceremonies, and 
return to apostolic simplicity. 

This little band of Christians, bound together by 
such close ties, began to give each other the title of 
" Brethren," which they have retained to this day. 
And so the first foundation of the Bohemian Brethren's 
Church was laid. 




But this new Church was to meet with persecution in 
its very infancy. The priests were unwearied in seeking 
to stir up the people against the new community. 
** Quench the spark," they said, " before it becomes a 
flame." And, like their Master, the members of the 
infant Church were to be " wounded in the house of 
their friends." Eokycana himself — the first adviser and 
friend of the Brethren — was now to prove false to them. 
He had been trying to serve two masters ; and the 
world, as always happens in such cases, had .gained the 
victory. The consistency and zeal of the Brethren 
were a reproach to himself. He accused them of rash- 
ness and presumption ; and pretexts were not wanting 
to bring them into bad odour with the king and council. 
On one occasion, in the yeat 1461, Gregory, the 
nephew of Eokycana, who was one of the principal 
leaders in the little community at Litiz, was visiting 
some of his friends and disciples in Prague, where they 
were holding a meeting in a private house. They were 
discovered and betrayed ;^ and the judge — who was in 
his heart well disposed towards them, but dared not 
refuse to act in his official capacity — came to arrest 

^ It appears from other accounts that they were warned by one who 
was secretly their friend, and advised quickly to disappear ; but that 
in their fiery zeal the majority determined to await their doom. 


them, and, standing at the door of the room where they 
were assembled, pronounced these remarkable words : 
" All who live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer perse- 
cution. You who are assembled here, follow me to 

The king's mind had been poisoned against the 
Brethren by false accusers, who alleged that they were 
about to organize an insurrection like that of the 
Taborites. On this suspicion the little band had been 
arrested; and the pious Gregory was stretched on 
the rack, with a view of drawing some confession 
from him. 

But He who has promised to be with His people 
in the furnace was with His faithful servant in this 
extremity. Gregory fell into a kind of trance, in which 
he lay insensible to pain, and apparently dead. The 
torturers desisted from their work, thinking it too late ; 
and Eokycana was informed that his nephew had ex- 
pired on the rack. He hastened to the spot, and when 
he saw his brave and devoted relative lying pale and 
deathlike before him, his conscience was awakened : he 
wept over him in bitter agony of spirit, exclaiming 
again and again, '*' my Gregory, would I were where 
thou art ! " 

Gregory, on recovering consciousness after some 
hours, related a kind of dream or vision he had had 
during his apparent swoon. He thought he had been 
led into a meadow of wondrous beauty, in the midst of 
which stood a tree laden with fruit, of which birds of 
many kinds in the branches were partaking. A youth 
stood by, who ruled these birds with a wand, and 
permitted none to fly from their places. Three men 
seemed to guard the tree, of whose countenances he took 


special note. This dream was afterwards considered 

At Eokycana's request Gregory was set free ; but the 
time-serving man was not willing to render any further 
help to the infant Church. All religious services, if 
held without the Romish ceremonies, were strictly 
forbidden ; and anyone who took the office of minister 
among the " Picards " was liable to be punished with 

In vain the persecuted band entreated Rokycana 
to come to their aid, and not to abandon a cause which 
he well knew was that of God. He was deaf to all 
their representations ; and at last they took leave of him 
in a letter containing these words : " Thou art of the 
world, and wilt perish with the world." Stung by a 
reproach of which he must have felt the justice, he 
revenged himself by stirring up the king to a fresh 
persecution of the Brethren. 

Most of the members of the little band were scattered, 
and their principal leaders driven to hide in caves and 
woods, and even there were in fear of their lives. Only 
by night did they venture to kindle a fire, lest the 
smoke should betray them. In the bitter cold of a 
Bohemian winter evening in the mountains, they 
gathered round these camp-fires, reading the Scriptures 
by their light, and edifying one another by spiritual 
converse. When they met together in the snow, tliey 
were careful to tread singly in each other's footsteps, 
while the last comer effaced the tracks with a snow- 
covered pine-twig, so as to make them appear as if a 
peasant had been drawing a faggot after him. From 
their life in caves and holes of the earth, they were 
called by their adversaries in derision " Jamnici," or 


" Pitmen." It was a title of which they had no reason 
to be ashamed. 

In the midst of these dangers the Brethren set them- 
selves earnestly to the work of organizing their Church, 
and setting apart certain persons for the ministerial 
office. It was a solemn undertaking, carried on with 
frequent meetings for deliberation and much prayer. 
Finding that they could not look for help from those 
who had been in Eomish orders, they resolved to exercise 
the right which they believed Christ had given to His 
disciples, by choosing from among themselves men fitted 
for the sacred office. 

After long prayer and consultation, they met at a 
village called Sbota to choose their principal leaders. 
Mne men were fixed on, and a child was called in to 
draw lots. There were three slips with the word '' Est " 
on them. These three fell to the lot of the three men 
whom Gregory had seen in his dream. 

These three men — who seem to have been in different 
ways well fitted for the ministering office — were sent 
into Austria to receive consecration from the hands of 
Stephanus, the "bishop of a community of Waldenses 
who had been driven from the south of France or Pied- 
mont, and had emigrated to Austria. 

Stephanus consecrated the three men bishops; and 
there was some thought of uniting the new Church 
with this community of Austrian Waldenses. The 
Bohemian Brethren objected that the Waldenses had 
fallen insensibly into a spirit of compromise, and were 
in the habit of frequenting the Eomish ceremonies to 
avoid persecution. They represented this to the 
Austrian Waldenses, who appear to have received the 
brotherly admonition in the same Christian spirit in 


which it was offered, and freely owned that they had 
fallen away from the purity of their fathers' practice, 
and must seek to return to their former high standard. 

A time and place were fixed for a meeting to decide 
on the union of the Bohemians and Waldenses. But 
the intended meeting was heard of, and made the pre- 
text for a fresh persecution of the Austrian Waldenses. 
Stephanus was burned in Vienna, and his flock compelled 
to fly. The greater number took refuge in Branden- 
burg, which was afterwards a gathering-place for the 

The persecution of these Austrian Waldenses was 
quickly followed by one no less severe of the Bohemian 
Brethren. King George Podiebrad issued an edict 
commanding that every nobleman should seek out and 
apprehend all the " Picards " he could find on his estate, 
and force or alarm them into conformity to the dominant 
church. Many were arrested and imprisoned in this 

In 1471 Eokycana's career was terminated by death. 
He might well have desired to exchange his death-bed 
for his pious nephew's couch in the torture-chamber. 
He died in all the agonies of utter despair. 

The king visited him in his dying hour. We have 
no details of the last awful interview between the 
persecuting monarch and the teacher who had been his 
tempter to evil : all we hear is, that Eokycana solemnly 
summoned his royal pupil to meet him at the judgment- 
seat of God. 

And whether this summons acted on the king's mind 
so as to verify itself, or that it was one of those cases in 
which the dying seem gifted with prevision, it is certain 
that Podiebrad only survived Eokycana a month. He 


was succeeded by Wladislas of Poland — himself a mild 
and merciful prince, but led into acts of severity by his 
advisers, and especially by his bigoted wife. 

Accusations were brought on all sides against the 
Brethren, and their position was rendered more painful 
by internal dissensions. A discussion had arisen among 
them as to the lawfulness of holding offices of state, 
entering the army, &c. The majority had no scruples 
on these heads ; but a small minority held the views 
afterwards called Mennonite,^ and formed a community 
by themselves at Prague. In itself such a discussion 
need have been of little moment ; but, unhappily, the 
apostle's precepts of mutual forbearance were forgotten, 
and the minority who had separated accused their 
brethren of worldliness of views — an accusation which 
was easily exaggerated into an intention to resort to 
arms to strengthen their claims. 

At this time the Brethren were summoned to appear 
before the council and give an account of their opinions. 
It was a matter of anxious deliberation with them 
whether or not they should comply with this summons. 
They had too much reason to suspect a snare ; but they 
decided that the risk of being entrapped must be run, 
and two representatives were chosen and sent forth, 
feeling that they would probably meet the fate of Huss. 

A letter, written by Baron Eostha, one of their 
principal leaders, to one of the deputies, shows the 
spirit which animated them. 

" It is a part of our human nature," he writes, '' to 

cling to life. But thou, my brother, hast been better 

taught. Thou may est remember that thy life is buried 

with Christ, and to win it thou must have died with Him. 

^ The sect of Mennonites exists in Germany to this day. 


Thou knowest in whom thou hast trusted, and with 
whose power thou wilt keep a good conscience to the 
end. Be Strang then in the Lord, and in the power of 
His might, and fight the good fight unto the end, and 
thou shalt receive the crown of life. I will not hold 
thee back, beloved brother ; stand fast, and fear not. 
What human foresight could do to secure the safety of 
you both we have dane, and will do ; but if the wrath 
of the enemy should be too strong, and it should be the 
will of the Lord that His cause should be glorified by 
your death, be ready to say with Job, ' The Lord gave, 
and the Lord taketh away ; blessed be the name of the 
Lord; " 

But it was God's will to deliver His servants on this 
occasion. On the very day of the council meeting, the 
chief magistrate, who was one of the Brethren's bitterest 
enemies, died suddenly; other hindrances supervened, 
and the council was indefinitely put off, and the 
deputies dismissed in safety. 

The queen now urged her husband Wladislas to a 
fresh edict against the Brethren. He yielded, against 
his own convictions, but was so deeply distressed at 
what he had done, that he retired to his room and fell 
on his knees, and implored God that the guilt of the 
bloody edict might not be imputed to him, and that its 
consequences might if possible, be averted. 

The prayer was answered in a manner little expected 
by the kind-hearted but weak monarch. The queen 
was suddenly taken ill, and died, leaving a new-born 
infant, who afterwards came to the throne under the 
name of Ludwig. 

This gave a respite to the Brethren ; but two years 
later some of the bishops most hostile to them per- 


suaded the king to press the edict. The pastors of the 
Church were obliged to fly or conceal themselves; and 
several of the people were arrested. Among others, six 
men of humble station, artisans and peasants, were 
brought before Baron von Schwanberg, in the town of 
Huiden. The priest asked them if they would follow 
him as their spiritual shepherd. "The Shepherd of 
our souls is Jesus Christ," they replied. They were led 
to execution. But the captain of the guard, who had a 
friendly feeling for Nicolas, the youngest of the six, 
proposed to get him a year's respite for consideration. 
Nicolas paused a moment, but quickly exclaimed, " It 
would be abandoning my brethren even to allow myself 
to deliberate. I will die with them." He mounted the 
scaffold with his companions, and all died firmly and 
joyfully in the flames. 

The Calixtines themselves did not escape persecution. 
Those who preached scriptural and pure doctrine were 
banished, imprisoned, and several put to the torture ; 
one actually died on the rack. 

The archbishopric of Prague was at this time vacant, 
and the Calixtines during the interregnum were only 
permitted to have their priests ordained in Italy, and 
that, generally speaking, by men devoted to the papacy. 
Twice, however, they had Italian bishops, who showed 
themselves friendly to the gospel ; but eventually the 
priests ordained by them were compelled to submit to 
the pope. Some candidates for ordination were so much 
disgusted that they actually went to receive the ordina- 
tion rite in Armenia, which was given them there in con- 
sideration of their agreement on some particular points. 

Meanwhile, Luther was beginning to rise into notice. 
His example stirred up the zeal of many Calixtines for 



pure gospel doctrine, and some were inclined to seek 
ordination at Wittenburg rather than Eome. An 
Assembly of the Bohemian and Moravian States was 
convened in 1523, to which ecclesiastics of different 
churches were invited, and twenty articles of reforma- 
tion were drawn up under the superintendence of the 
head of the university. The preacher, Gallus Cahera, 
was chosen administrator. Cahera was a professed 
friend and admirer of Luther ; and the advocates of the 
Eeformation thought they had gained a champion. They 
were grievously deceived. Cahera was a traitor, who 
had been all along secretly working for the papacy. He 
contrived, by dint of intrigue, to have a fresh set of arti- 
cles brought forward, favourable to the Eomish Church. 

The weak and vacillating though well-intentioned 
King Wladislas was dead, and was succeeded by his son 
Ludwig. The young king, a warm adherent of the 
papacy, was ready to abet the traitor's endeavours ; and 
Cahera compelled all priests and citizens, on pain of 
banishment, to sign these new articles. The old accu- 
sation was revived, that the " Evangelicals " or " Picards " 
were plotting against the Calixtines ; and three of the 
former were put to the torture to force disclosures from 
them ; but in vain. 

The charge of Picardism was now made the pretext 
for every kind of oppression. Anyone who had debts 
he was unwilling to pay had only to accuse his creditor 
of being a Picard, to get him banished from the town. 
The most shameless calumnies were listened to ; and 
many Picards were scourged, branded, and banished. 

In 1526, an aged and learned man, named Nicolas, 
was brought before the magistrates on the charge of 
Picardism. He was asked his views on the sacrament 


of the altar. " I hold," he said, " what the evangelists 
and St. Paul teach iis to believe." " Do you believe," 
said his questioner, " that Christ's body and blood are 
really present in the Lord's Supper ? " "I believe," 
replied the old man, " that when a pious servant of God 
shows forth in the assembly of believers the grace 
and mercy we have received through Christ's death, 
by distributing the bread and wine, that these ele- 
ments then constitute the supper of the Lord, and 
by faith we are partakers of the benefits of Christ's 

Some further questions were asked of Nicolas on the 
intercession of saints, the mass, &c. ; and he, with his 
hostess Clara, an aged widow, who held the same faith, 
was condemned to death by fire. 

At the place of execution they were directed to adore 
the crucifix, which was placed towards the east ; but they 
replied, " The commandment of God forbids our worship- 
ping the likeness of anything in heaven or earth. We will 
pray to the living God, Lord of heaven and earth, who 
dwells equally in the east and west, north and south." 

And, turning from the crucifix, the two aged Christians 
raised their hands and eyes to heaven and prayed to 
Christ with fervour. They took leave of their respective 
children, and Nicolas, mounting the scaffold, repeated 
the Belief, commended his soul in solemn prayer to his 
Saviour, and afterwards repeated in Latin the psalm, 
*' In Thee, Lord, have I put my trust." His fellow- 
sufferer, Clara, was led to the scaffold beside him, and 
the pile was lighted which consumed these faithful 
witnesses to the truth. 

Their death was followed, the next year, by that of 
Martha von Porzicz, a woman of heroic courage and 

E 2 


constancy. When brought before the council, she 
boldly confessed her faith, and reproached the Calix- 
tines for their cowardly flattery of the pope. The 
magistrate told her she must prepare the garments in 
which she was to suffer. " My dress and mantle are all 
ready," she quietly replied ; " let me go as soon as you 

The town-crier proclaimed before her that she was 
condemned for throwing contempt on the sacrament. 
"That is not true," she replied. "I am condemned 
because I will not blaspheme God by declaring that 
the actual body — flesh, bones, and blood — of Christ 
can be present in the sacrament. Do not believe these 
priests," she continued, addressing the people; "they 
are hypocrites, living for their own pleasure, and given 
up to vice." 

On arriving at the place of execution, her persecutors 
pressed her to adore the crucifix, as they had done 
ISTicolas and Clara. She turned away, and raising her 
eyes to heaven, exclaimed : " There is our God ; to 
Him only must we look ! " With these words she 
mounted the scaffold, and met her doom with serene 

Equal constancy was shown, the next year, by two 
brothers, workmen, condemned to suffer death by 
burning at Prague. On their way to execution they 
encouraged each other with words of Scripture. "As 
the Lord Jesus," said one of them, " has suffered such 
cruel pain for us, we will also endure this death, 
rejoicing that we are counted worthy to suffer for the 
Word of God." "Truly," replied his brother, "I never 
felt such joy, even on my wedding-day, as now." 

When the fire was kindled, they both said in a clear 


voice, " Lord Jesus Christ, Thou hast prayed for Thine 
enemies on the cross ; we now pray Thee also, forgive 
the king, the citizens, and the priests, for they know 
not what they do, and their hands are defiled with 
blood. Dear people," added one of them, turning to 
the multitude, " pray for your king, that God may 
give him the knowledge of the truth, for the priests are 
deceiving him." With these words the pious brothers 
calmly met their fate, and expired in the flames. 

The traitorous persecutor of the Picards, Cahera, 
did not long prosper ; the political intrigues into which 
his restless spirit led him brought him into disgrace 
with the king ; he was banished, and ended his life in 
France in great misery. 

His removal did not, however, bring any relief to 
the suffering Bohemian Church. Under Ferdinand i., 
brother of Charles v., who now succeeded to the throne, 
they had much oppression to suffer. They were exposed 
to lawless violence : to kill a " Picard " was regarded as 
no greater fault than to kill a dog. 

In spite of all this the Church grew and multiplied, 
and the faithful brethren, entering into correspondence 
with Luther and other German reformers, found in them 
Christian friends ever ready to uphold them by warm 
sympathy and strengthening words. 

They needed all such help, for days of even deeper trial 
were at hand. The Emperor Charles v., wishing to carry 
out the decisions of the Council of Trent, commenced a 
war against the Protestant princes of Germany ; and his 
brother Ferdinand readily lent his aid, and called on 
his subjects to second him. This they were, however, 
reluctant to do : when, therefore, the German Protes- 
tants had been defeated in 1547, Ferdinand entered 


Prague with an army of German and Hungarian 
soldiers, took possession of the city as a conqueror, and 
banished, imprisoned, scourged, and deprived of their 
property many of the most distinguished citizens. 
Many went voluntarily into exile, to avoid further 
oppression. In such a time of trouble it may easily be 
supposed that the pure Church of the Brethren was 
exposed to peculiar attacks from the malice of its foes. 
Calumnies were again brought forward, and an edict 
was issued for the closing of all places of worship 
belonging to the Brethren. 

In five domains, largely inhabited by the members of 
this Church, the king commanded that all who would 
not either join the Eomanists or Calix tines should be 
banished. The lords of these estates he took care to 
arrest on other pretexts. 

It was a time of sifting for the infant Church. Many, 
alas ! were driven by terror into outward conformity with 
the dominant powers. The more steadfast, preferring exile 
to apostasy, agreed to emigrate in three distinct bodies to 
Poland. They travelled by different roads, to elude sus- 
picion, and met at Posen. They were kindly received by 
the Poles, though these were mostly Eomanists, and 
remained at Posen till the bishop of the place obtained 
an edict of banishment against them. 

They were then obliged to pass into Lower Prussia, 
where Duke Albert of Brandenburg allowed them to 
remain. Here they were questioned by some Lutheran 
divines in Konigsberg, and by them acknowledged as 
brethren in the faith. Certain cities were allotted to 
them as dwelling-places ; and Paul Speratus, Bishop of 
Pomerania, who had known them before, when on his 
travels, showed them special kindness and sympathy. 


But Ferdinand's rancour against the Evangelical 
Church was not satiated. He issued a third edict, 
conimanding that all the ministers of the Brethren's 
Church in Bohemia should be arrested and imprisoned. 
The greater number avoided this by flight ; some going 
to Moravia, which was still unmolested, and others to 
places so near that they could secretly visit their faithful 
adherents by night, and occasionally hold services in 
private houses. 

In this manner most escaped ; but three principal 
pastors fell into the enemy's hands. The chief of these 
was John Augusta, a former disciple and subsequently 
a correspondent of Luther. He was looked on as one 
of the most powerful defenders of evangelical doctrines ; 
pains were therefore taken to employ a false friend to 
entrap him, on the pretext of seeking his advice, into a 
private interview, at which he was arrested; he was 
then brought to Prague, and tortured fearfully three 
several times, as well as his colleague Eibek, in the 
hope of forcing them to make some disclosures which 
might implicate others. 

Several of the nobility who adhered to the Brethren's 
Church were exiled or imprisoned, like the pastors ; 
some of them, like John Augusta, were put to the 
torture. The heroic John Prostiborsky bit his tongue 
when on the rack, lest he should be driven by pain to 
make admissions which might injure his brethren. 
This he afterwards declared in writing ; and soon after 
he died in prison from the effects of his sufferings. 

Ferdinand, determined to spare no pains for the re- 
establishment of Popery as the only religion of Bohemia, 
took further measures to bring about this object. He 
sent for the Jesuits, and endowed them with a wealthy 


college. They, with their nsual policy, devoted them- 
selves to the education of youth, thus poisoning the 
spriDgs in their very source. 

The cause of evangelical religion might well have 
seemed lost in Bohemia ; but God in His mercy was 
about to grant a period of rest to the sorely-tried 
Brethren's Church. 

In 1562 Ferdinand was succeeded by his son Maxi- 
milian, a monarch of gentle and merciful disposition; 
he refused to allow of any persecution for conscience' 
sake ; and the persecuted Church was again enabled to 
take root downwards and bear fruit upwards. Maximilian 
had himself been instructed during his father's lifetime 
in Divine truth, and much influenced by his pious tutor, 
Johann Pfander, a distinguished preacher, and a man of 
learning as well as piety. 

These qualities, however, exposed Pfander to the 
hatred of the Popish party, and pains were taken to 
prejudice the Emperor Ferdinand against him. One 
day Ferdinand entered the preacher's room, where he 
found him alone, and reproached him bitterly with 
having led his son astray by his teaching. Pfander 
answered mildly and respectfully ; but the emperor was 
so carried away with passion, that he seized the preacher 
by the throat, and was just on the point of stabbing 
him. He, however, recovered himself, and was con- 
tented with commanding his son to dismiss the tutor. 

Maximilian, however, did not imbibe his father's 
principles : he was accustomed to observe, that to en- 
deavour to rule consciences by force was in fact an 
effort to take heaven by storm. 

Amono" those about him who were like-minded with 
himself was the distinguished physician Crato, to whom 


he always gave his full confidence. One day the 
emperor was taking a walk alone with Crato ; the con- 
versation turned on the divisions by which Christendom 
was torn, and the emperor asked his favourite which of 
the varied Christian sects seemed to him to approach 
the most nearly to apostolic simplicity. " I do not 
know any of whom it can be said more truly, sire," 
replied Crato, "than of the Brethren, who are also 
called Ficards" " I believe that myself," replied the 

This remark encouraged the good physician to adAdse 
the Brethren to dedicate their new hymn-book, of which 
they were preparing a German edition, to the emperor. 
They followed his counsel : and the dedication is still 
extant, in which they express the hope that the emperor 
would, like David, Josiah, Constantine, and Theodosius, 
act as a nursing father to the Church. There is every 
reason to believe that the will to do so was not wanting 
in the case of Maximilian ; but he was surrounded by 
those who were able to hinder his efforts for good. 

An attempt was made by the enemies of the gospel, 
in the third year of Maximilian's reign, to have an 
edict published against the Brethren. The chancellor, 
Joachim of Neuhaus, came to Vienna, and succeeded 
by art and determination in inducing the emperor, 
against his own will, to sign the edict. 

But the attempt was frustrated in a remarkable manner. 
The chancellor had just left Vienna, and was crossing the 
Danube, when a part of the bridge over which he was 
passing gave way, and he and his suite were precipitated 
into the stream. A few of his attendants reached the 
shore. A youth of noble birth, who was among them, 
endeavoured to uphold his master till a boat came to 


liis assistance ; but it was too late to save his life. The 
body of the chancellor was brought out of the water ; 
but the chest which contained the persecuting edict 
remained at the bottom of the river, and could never 
be rescued. Thus the danger was averted for the time. 
The young nobleman who had tried to save Neuhaus 
became a convert to the Brethren's faith, and lived to 
aa advanced asje. 

In 1575, Maximilian held a general Council of State, 
and declared his " Utraquist " subjects free to draw up a 
general confession of faith, which would be recognised 
by the State. The term Utraquist (or partaker of the 
communion in both kinds) was, properly speaking, 
another name for the Calixtines; but it was here 
applied to all the Protestant confessions— Picards, 
Lutherans, and Calvinists (of these last two there were 
now a considerable number in Bohemia). 

The Jesuits and ''• Pseudo- Hussites " availed them- 
selves of the minor differences of these Churches to 
throw obstacles in the way of any general compact ; 
but, in spite of all their intrigues, a form was drawn up, 
which all the Protestant confessions could subscribe. 

In 1576 the excellent Maximihan died, and was 
succeeded by his son Paidolf, who was like-minded with 
his father, and for the first six years of his reign 
maintained, like Maximilian, entire religious liberty. 

In 1602, a fresh effort at persecution was made by 
the Jesuits, under whose influence Eudolf passed an 
edict confirming the decrees of Wladislaw against the 
Picards. But the numerous influential noblemen who 
were friends to the Brethren succeeded in preventing 
the decree from being put in force, except in closing for 
a time some of their churches. 


It was, indeed, quite against the convictions of tins 
enlightened and merciful sovereign, that any kind of 
force should be laid on the consciences of men ; he is 
said to have exclaimed, when he heard that one of his 
principal cities in Hungary had been taken by the 
Turks, " I expected something of the kind, when I had 
begun to allow the sovereignty over conscience to be 
wrested by man from God." 

This cloud, too, was then to pass away. Eudolf was 
able effectually to prove his tolerant principles, by 
bestowing on his Protestant subjects the "Majestats- 
brief." This was an edict empowering them to open 
and maintain churches and schools wherever they would, 
and forbidding any violence being offered to the members 
of any confession on religious pretexts. 

The Estates met together on this occasion, and a 
convocation was called, consisting of three Calixtine 
clergy, three from the United Brethren, three from the 
other evangelical confessions, and three professors of the 
university. These twelve men were called on to arrange 
the ecclesiastical affairs of the whole kingdom. The 
first "administrator" was chosen from the Utraquists, 
the rest from the other confessions indiscriminately. 
It was agreed that each church should have its own 
elder, to superintend its own concerns, who should stand 
in rank next to the administrator. But all was to be 
carried on in a spirit of brotherly union and order. 
The Bethlehem Church, the scene of Huss's early 
preaching, was given up to the United Brethren, as 
being more emphatically the spiritual children of Huss 
than the others. 

The joy and exultation were general. On the very 
church doors might have been seen inscriptions like 


the following : — " The churches are open ; the lion of 
Bohemia rejoices ! Max has protected the faith ; Eudolf 
establishes it." 

An agreement was drawn up, which Eomanists and 
Protestants were invited to sign, to the effect that all 
were determined to maintain mutual union and peace. 
The compact was solemnly confirmed and signed by 
the emperor and his privy council. 

Three chancellors alone, of the Eomish Church, re- 
fused, as they declared, on conscientious grounds, to 
sign the compact : these were the Chancellor Zdenko of 
Lobkowitz, Slawata of Chlum, and Jaroslaw of Martiniz 
Smeczansky. The last two were to play an important 
part in the subsequent history of the country. 

With this exception all seemed to go smoothly. It 
was a time of hitherto unexampled prosperity for the 
pure faith ; and, indeed, it was said that at this period 
scarcely one in a hundred Bohemians could be found, 
who had not declared himself an adherent of evangelical 
teaching. But the more pious and thoughtful men saw 
ground for anxiety even in this very blaze of prosperity. 
The Church of Christ can seldom bear much sunshine 
without danger to her spiritual growth ; and the evil 
effects were already becoming apparent. A spirit of 
carelessness and worldliness was beginning to mar 
the purity of the reformed communities, and many 
feared that a time of chastening would be needed to 
awaken them from their sleep. 

The hour of trial was not far off. The little cloud 
was already in the horizon, which was shortly to darken 
into a storm. 

To explain how these troubles began, we must re- 
capitulate a little. 



Rudolf's power of granting religious lil)erty to Bohemia 
and Silesia had arisen partly from a division which had 
taken place in the empire, which indirectly strengthened 
the emperor's hands by weakening his subjects. *In 
consequence of certain political combinations, Austria, 
Hungary, and Moravia had deserted Rudolf and chosen 
his brother the Archduke Matthias for their sovereign. 
This led to a war between the countries ; the forces of 
the above-mentioned States had entered Bohemia in 
January 1608, and, advancing upon Prague, demanded 
not only the Hungarian crown, but also the cession of 
Bohemia to Matthias. 

Bohemia and Silesia, however, remained faithful to 
the emperor ; and Matthias evacuated Bohemia, having 
secured the crown of Hungary, and the promise of that 
of Bohemia at Rudolf's death. 

The Bohemians, on their part, demanded and obtained 
from the emperor, as a reward for their faithful ad- 
herence to his cause, the promise of complete religious 
freedom, and full control over the consistory and the 

Rudolf felt keenly the mortification caused by the 
revolt of Austria and Hungary, and the usurpation of 
his brother. His situation was rendered more critical by 
the position now assumed by Spain, which was threaten- 


ing not only Bohemia, but tlie whole German empire, 
with destmction. He was anxious to take measures for 
the safety of his dominions ; and, in selecting instru- 
ments to carry out his plans, his choice fell on two 
barons, on whose fidelity he considered he could fully 
rely. These were Kahn from Austria, and Schmidt from 
Bohemia. Both were of Styrian origin, and had been 
banished from their own country by the Archduke 
Ferdinand, on the occasion of the counter-reformation 
movement in 1600. 

Kudolf summoned these barons to Prague in 1610, 
and laid his plans before them. He dreaded the idea of 
Matthias being his successor ; the latter was, like him- 
self, childless, and being entirely devoted to the Romish 
Church, Eudolf knew he would be persuaded by the 
clergy to adopt his nephew, Ferdinand, who was also 
their tool, as his successor. 

Rudolf, on the other hand, had determined to make 
choice of the Archduke Leopold, Ferdinand's brother, 
to succeed him on the imperial throne. Though a 
bishop of the Romish Church, he knew Leopold had a 
more merciful and kindly temper than his brother, and 
would be more easily influenced by good counsels. 

To secure his nephew from being led astray, the 
emperor had planned the foundation of an Order of 
Peace, which should be based on the great principle of 
freedom of conscience. The watchword of the order 
should be, that none who called on the name of Christ 
should be liable to suffer on religious grounds ; and he 
proposed to invite all the Protestant princes, and all 
the Roman Catholic ones who would consent to it, to 
enter the order. He had already drawn up a list of 
these princes, and a formula of the oath to be taken on 


entering the order, which he read aloud to the two 
barons, at the same time giving them each as a badge a 
gold chain, which he had linked with his own hand, 
and ornamented with symbols of peace. He intended to 
give one of these chains himself to every member of 
the order. 

The two barons listened with astonishment to the 
emperor's discourse. He asked them if they were ready 
to help him in carrying out these plans. They replied, 
they knew not how they could be of any assistance. 

" You can do so," rejoined the emperor, " by acting as 
ambassadors for me : you, Kahn, to the German princes ; 
and you, Schmidt, to the chief nobility of Bohemia and 
Moravia. But I must first take strong measures to 
protect myself and my throne. You must first go to 
Passau, to the Archduke Leopold, with credentials 
written by my own hand, and lay before him my in- 
tentions. If he agrees to them, you must see that 
a sufficient force is raised, and return to me with the 

The two barons were completely bewildered by this 
speech. The scheme seemed to them nearly a hopelesa 
one. The emperor, perceiving their surprise, gave them 
three days to consider the undertaking. At the end of 
the time they promised to carry out his views to the 
best of their power. 

But the scheme was not destined to meet with success. 
Baron Schmidt, after performing his mission in Passau, 
went as delegate from the emperor to the Bohemian and 
Moravian nobility, to announce to them his master's 
intentions. But no one was inclined to give credit to 
his representations. Tlie whole affair was looked on as 
a piece of idle ceremonial, perhaps serving as a cloak to 


some intrigue. There was a siniplicity and a romance 
about the undertaking, which to practised statesmen 
appeared absurd ; and they feared, with some reason, a 
war between the rival monarchs. 

Schmidt announced the failure of his embassy to the 
emperor, who sprang from his seat, violently irritated, 
and throwing open the window of his palace, from which 
lie could look down on the city, he exclaimed : " Prague, 
ungrateful Prague ! thou hast been renowned through 
my means; but now thou wouWst repulse me, thy 
benefactor. May the vengeance of God rest on thee 
and on all Bohemia!" 

Baron Schmidt himself, in his old age, related this 
incident to the writer of this Chronicle, showing at the 
same time the chain which had been given him as a 
badge of the Order of Peace. As he drew this relic from 
its hiding-place, the old man said, gazing on it with 
tears : " The pious emperor linked this chain with his 
holy hands, and the malediction he pronounced on the 
ungrateful city has indeed fallen on us ! " 

Eudolfs plans all met with the same ill success. 
The army he had been at such pains to collect at 
Passau did indeed march to Prague ; but Matthias was 
equally or better prepared on his side. He met the 
army of Passau with his troops, gained a complete 
victory, and was immediately proclaimed King of 
Bohemia. Rudolf, grieved and disappointed, died of 
a broken heart. 

It was well for the good emperor that he did not live 
to see all his worst fears realised ; the results, indeed, 
were just what he had anticipated. Matthias entered 
Bohemia in 1617, accompanied by his nephew Ferdi- 
nand. Being himself childless, he formally adopted 


Ferdinand as his son and successor, and commanded tlie 
States of Bohemia to receive him as their king. 

After having arranged for a general meeting of the 
States of the country, he passed into Saxony, Avith a 
view of winning the Elector's friendship for his adopted 
son. On his return the States met ; their numbers, 
as he had expected and hoped, from the short notice 
given, and the time chosen (which was one pecuharly 
inconvenient to most landed proprietors), were but 

The emperor announced his intention of adopting 
Ferdinand, and requested the States to receive and 
crown him. The States objected that so important a 
step could not be taken in the absence of the nobles 
who held fiefs under the empire. The emperor replied 
that Bohemia being the principal and most important 
country of the empire, its States could well decide in 
the absence of the others. The States, however, disliked 
the proposal, and had further objections to urge. They 
complained of the expression, '' received a king." " It 
is for us," they said, " to elect our own sovereign, not to 
accept one chosen by others." 

The emperor, however, was determined on carrying 
his point; and by dint of intrigues he succeeded. 
Ferdinand was obliged, however, to pledge himself 
to non-interference in religious matters. With this 
understanding the Bohemians consented to crown him 

From this period the enemies of the gospel began to 
manifest their hostility with more confidence and deter- 
mination, and the Evangelicals were threatened both 
secretly and openly. The Jesuits in Olmutz raised a 
triumphal arch, on which were depicted the Bohemian 



lion and the Moravian eagle in chains, and beneath them 
a hare sleeping with open eyes, and the inscription 
above it, — 

" I am accustomed to it." 

This was a reflection on the sleepy and careless manner 
in which the States had. suffered themselves to be taken 
in by the emperor and his adopted son. 

And indeed it soon became apparent that Ferdinand, 
though he had sworn to the States of Bohemia with his 
lips, had. sworn fealty to the pope with his heart. From 
this hour no pains were spared to bring about measures 
injurious to the Evangelicals. Their rights were vio- 
lated by cunning and intrigue, and their patience was 
purposely tried, in order to urge them to some impru- 
dent step which might justify retaliation. All the nobles 
attached to the papacy, as well as the bishops and 
clergy, oppressed their vassals, in direct opposition to the 
" Majestats-brief." Even in Prague and in the royal 
free cities the same oppression was attempted. The 
publishers were forbidden to print anything without 
special permission from the chancellor ; while the ene- 
mies of the gospel circulated calumnious and scurrilous 
writings of every kind against their opponents. 

Meanwhile those pastors who were inclined to the 
temporising measures of the Pseudo-Hussites were 
secretly tampered with, to induce them to petition that 
the Utraquist consistory should be placed under the 
control of the archbishop, as in former times. Twelve 
of them had been persuaded to sign this, when the 
principal of them, Matthew Paczuda, who had been 
enticed by the hope of being appointed administrator, 
was attacked with dangerous illness, and, feeling himself 
at the point of death, was seized with repentance, and 


not only recanted, but warned his companions against 
the intrigues to which they had lent themselves. 

This put a stop to the attempt in question ; but the 
adherents of the papacy were not idle. The lordship 
of Karlstein was taken from the Count of Thurn and 
given to the bigoted Smeczansky, who lost no opportu- 
nity of oppressing his new vassals. The Evangelical 
churches in several towns were destroyed, and their 
inhabitants persecuted in various ways. 

The States, irritated beyond endurance at these in- 
fringements of their rights, at last held a numerously 
attended meeting in 1618. They assembled, armed, in 
the citadel of the Hradschin, and in their rage against 
the chief fomenters of the divisions, Slawata and 
Martiniz, and the Secretary Eabricius, they flung them 
from the windows of the castle. Falling on a heap of 
soft earth, they were uninjured, which their friends 
professed to regard as a miracle. To the other party 
it appeared that they were preserved as a scourge for 

This act of violence w^as, in fact, equivalent to a 
declaration of war. The States took on themselves to 
banish the Jesuits from the kingdom. The Bohemians 
then sent an embassy to the king, declaring that they 
had done nothing inconsistent with their respect for his 
majesty, but had merely punished those who had 
infringed the articles of the " Majestats-brief." They 
entreated the emperor to assure them that he would 
view the matter in the same light. 

But Matthias, influenced by Ferdinand, determined 
to have recourse to arms to punish the offence. The 
Bohemians put themselves on the defensive, and chose 
thirty directors for the time of the interregnum. Pilcsia 

F 2 


and Moravia espoused the cause of Boliemia. The 
emperor refused to listen to those of his council who 
advised peaceful measures. Ferdinand is said to have 
answered the Bishop of Vienna, who spoke with regret 
of the probable devastation of the flourishing and 
beautiful country of Bohemia, — '' We would rather 
have a kinfrdom laid waste than damned." 

An imperial army was accordingly sent to attack this 
most prosperous and valuable portion of its sovereign's 
dominions, backed by a Spanish force. Such were the 
means to which the emperor trusted for the conversion 
of his refractory subjects. 

But Matthias's reign was now drawing to a close. His 
death interrupted the proceedings, and the Bohemian 
States, with those of Moravia and Silesia, met to de- 
liberate whether Ferdinand, who had been forced on them 
as their king against their will, and had endeavoured to 
destroy their privileges and liberties, could be still 
regarded as their lawful sovereign. They decided in the 

They then sent ambassadors to Frankfort, where the 
electors were assembled to choose a new emperor, en- 
treating that Ferdinand, whom they refused to acknow- 
ledge as King of Bohemia, might not be elected Emperor 
of Germany. Their remonstrances were in vain. 
Ferdinand's party were too powerful among the German 
electors to permit the objections of one part of tlie 
empire to have any effect. He was elected Emperor of 
Germany, in an evil day for the cause of liberty and 
true religion. 

The Bohemians now took the matter into their own 
hands. They could not prevent the ruler they so 
dreaded and disliked from being chosen supreme head 



of the " Holy Eoman Empire ; " but tliey could firmly 
refuse to acknowledge liim as their king. They made 
choice of Frederick, Elector Palatine (who was married 
to the daughter of James i. of England), as King of 
Bohemia. He, unwisely for his own interests, accepted 
the offer. 

Both parties now took up arms. An overwhelming 
force was collected by the adherents of the emperor. 
The Bohemians had valour, patriotism, and a just cause 
on their side ; but against such fearful odds they had no 
chance. A decisive battle was fought under the walls 
of Prague, on the 8th of N'ovember, 1620, at Weissen- 
berg, or the White Mountain. The newly-elected king 
— the "Winter King," as he was denominated — was 
driven from the country ; the Bohemians were totally 
defeated, and the whole of Bohemia, Moravia, and 
Silesia lay crushed at the feet of the conquerors. 



The unrighteous cause had triumphed ; and now the 
enemies of the pure faith set themselves in right 
earnest to eradicate every trace of it from Bohemia. 

But to accomplish this they did not follow the ex- 
ample of former persecuting rulers in other countries, 
and attack the Eeformed Christians, as such, openly 
with fire and sword. Eome took an apparently milder 
but more sure way of accomplishing her purpose. 
Heresy was a disease which must be cured not by 
violent remedies, but by a wholesome and careful 
regimen. The heretics were not to be brought back to 
the fold by executions in which they might glory as 
martyrdoms ; but they were to be wearied into obedi- 
ence by slow but sure means. The harsh name of 
''Inquisition" was to be replaced by the milder one 
of " Eeformation." 

Accordingly a decree was passed against the Evangeli- 
cals of Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia, which sliould 
oppress without destroying them. The instrument for 
carrying out this work was a Spaniard by birth, named 
Martin de Huerda, who had lived in Bohemia from his 
childhood. He must have been of humble origin, for he 
had begun life as a tailor ; but he appears to have subse- 
quently served in the imperial armies, and by carrying 
off and marrying a noble lady, the Countess Sesinia, he 


became ennobled. He was fortunate in war, and 
eventually obtained great wealth and the rank of a baron. 
He was said to have often boasted that he was the 
messenger who first brought the news of the victory at 
Prague to the emperor at Vienna, and that he had 
advised Ferdinand to leave no trace of so rebellious and 
heretical a people. The emperor, however, by the advice 
of the Duke of Bavaria, determined to try an apparently 
gentler mode of proceeding. 

But although the steps taken against the Evangelicals 
in Bohemia were to be slow and gradual, it was ex- 
pedient to strike terror into the rebellious party by in- 
flicting exemplary punishment on the principal persons 
who had been instrumental in supporting the claims 
of the Elector Palatine, and opposing the election of 
Ferdinand as king. But, in order to punish these 
criminals effectively, a show of clemency was at first 
employed, to prevent their escaping. Accordingly, after 
the surrender of Prague, full pardon was promised to 
all who would lay down their arms and submit to the 

This proclamation led many to remain in the country 
who might easily have escaped in the first instance. 
Some, indeed, either distrusting the emperor, or feeling 
a scruple about breaking their oath to the Elector Pala- 
tine, followed him into exile ; but fifty of the most dis- 
tinguished noblemen and gentlemen of Prague, whose 
high character and qualities had rendered them the orna- 
ments of their country, were induced by the amnesty to 

At first they were lulled into security with fair 
promises : for more than three months nothing was 
spoken of but favour and mercy, and several who were 


in concealment actually ventured from their hiding- 
places on the strength of these promises. 

But on the 20th of February, 1621, the private houses 
of the obnoxious persons were suddenly broken into, 
and all who were found were seized, arrested, and 
imprisoned in the citadel of Prague. 

The next day a mandate was issued, summoning all 
absent and exiled nobles to appear at Prague. None of 
them, however, responded to the summons. They were 
accordingly proclaimed guilty of high treason, and their 
goods and lives declared forfeit. 

In May, 1621, the accused nobles who were under 
arrest were brought before the judges and closely cross- 
examined. Every effort was made to urge them into 
a confession of crimes of which they had never been 
guilty. At last. Count Andreas Schlick, losing patience, 
tore open his vest, and, pointing to his heart, exclaimed, 
" Search me, and tear my body into a thousand pieces, 
and you will find nothing but what we have already 
freely avowed. We were moved to draw the sword from 
love of liberty and religion. But as the Lord has per- 
mitted that the emperor should gain the victory, and 
we should fall into his hands. His will be done ! " 

Otto von Loss and Herr von Budowa expressed them- 
selves in the same manner. 

Week after week passed on, while the examinations 
continued. None of the prisoners swerved from their 
convictions, none would confess crimes ; but their 
enemies were determined to have their blood. The 
pretext for condemning them was political ; but hatred 
to the Evangelical cause was the moving principle of 
their opponents. They were really martyrs to gospel 
truth as well as to political liberty. The emperor 


caused their sentences to be brought to Vienna, where 
he modified some of them, to give an appearance of mercy 
and moderation to the whole proceedings. It was a 
strange kind of mercy ! 

On the 19th of June, 1621, the sentence was finally 
pronounced by the judges. Twenty-seven of the pri- 
soners were condemned to death by beheading ; some 
of them were to lose the hand or the tongue first, Tlie 
remainder, whose lives were spared, were condemned to 
exile or imprisonment for life and forfeiture of property. 

The day after the condemnation, when the stadtholder, 
Prince Lichtenstein, was on his way to mass, he was 
met by a sad procession — the wives, children, and near 
relatives of the condemned. They threw themselves at 
his feet, and implored him to spare the lives of their 
beloved ones. Tlie prince replied that a reprieve was 
now impossible, but that he might perhaps grant them 
the favour of being permitted a decent burial. The 
weeping suppliants retired, to be tortured with false 
hopes held out to them by greedy flatterers, Avho saw 
that they could find opportunities of plundering the 
distressed women of their property on pretext of being 
able to purchase them a pardon — hopes which soon 
proved to be utterly vain. 

In the evening of June 21st, the condemned were 
allowed to have either a Jesuit confessor or a Lutheran 
clergyman to administer religious consolation, and give 
them the communion. The pastors of the Brethren's 
Church, to which nearly half the victims belonged, were 
not permitted to have access to them. The Lutherans 
were probably admitted out of compliment to the Elector 
of Saxony. But the Jesuits and Capuchins would not 
wait for a summons ; they crowded about the prisoners, 


harassing them (in the words of the Chronicle) like 
swarms of flies. To some they held out hopes of 
life, and by this and other means they endeavoured 
to induce them to recant. But the Lord stood by His 
people and strengthened them. N"ot one wavered. The 
Jesuits at last left them in despair, declaring them- 
selves clear from the blood of these obstinate heretics, 
who refused to accept the grace of God, 

They were compelled to permit the Evangelical 
ministers to be called in. Six Lutheran pastors were 
admitted. They appear to have acted the part of true 
Christian ministers — consoling the prisoners with pious 
words, prayer, and hymns, and administering the Lord's 
Supper, to prepare them for their last struggle. 

The members of the Brethren's Church and of the 
Eeformed Churches received these Lutheran pastors 
with affection and respect as Christian brethren and 
ministers, assuring them they had always honoured them 
as such, even when some unhappy divisions had crept 
in and led, perhaps, to words being said on all sides 
which, when eternity is near, Christian men would look 
back to with regret. 

Most of the prisoners received the Lord's Supper 
from these pastors ; two of them, Baron von Budowa 
and Otto von Loss, had some scruples, lest their re- 
ceiving it from a Lutheran should be misinterpreted by 
enthusiastic adherents of the Brethren's Church, ,and 
therefore abstained, consoling themselves with the 
words, " Believe only, and thou hast eaten and drunken." 
But it seems to have been clearly understood on all sides 
that this abstinence arose from no spirit of hostility to 
the Lutherans, and perfect harmony was maintained 
among them all. 


There was one other prisoner who refused the com- 
munion for a different reason. Dionysius Czerin had, 
in former years, at the emperor's court, relapsed into 
Eomanism. I^ow, however, his former convictions had 
returned to him, and he seems to have bewailed his 
defection with deep humiliation. He was present when 
the Pastor Eosacius administered the communion to two 
of his fellow-prisoners ; and when the pastor pointed out 
that our only well-grounded hope was in the merits and 
death of Christ, which would be the salvation of all who 
truly believed in Him, Czerin struck his breast, and 
exclaimed with tears, " That is my belief ; and in it 
will I die ! " 

He joined in the service till the bread and wine were 
to be administered, and then, to the surprise of those 
present, instead of partaking, he drew back to one side, 
and kneeling, prayed earnestly by himself. When the 
service was over, and the others thanked the pastor, 
Czerin expressed his thankfulness that he had been 
present, and congratulated his friends that they had 
received so great a privilege. Eosacius expressed his 
surprise that he had not partaken with them. " I might, 
and perhaps I should have done so," said Czerin ; 
"but — "he stopped short, struck his breast, and wept, 
then continued, " I am content with the grace I have 
received, and trust that my God will receive my deeply- 
troubled soul ! " 

It would appear likely that he had felt too much 
humbled by his former defection to venture to receive the 
communion ; and however we may regard his scruples, 
he evidently seems to have shown a lively faith in Christ 
alone. He refused to the last the offices of the priests, 
and died with humble Christian words on his lips. 


But this is anticipating; we return to the other 
prisoners. The condemned nobles were in the citadel ; 
the others were all assembled in the old town-hall 
on the Sunday evening, the eve of their death. The 
Pastor Yerbenius was engaged in pious discourse with 
them, when supper was announced by the gaoler. The 
prisoners looked at each other. " We need no earthly 
food now," they said ; " but, to strengthen ourselves for 
the last hour, we will not refuse it." 

They gathered round the table, one spreading the 
cloth, another pouring out water, a third arranging the 
plates, &c., while a fourth pronounced a blessing and 
helped his companions. 

" It is our last meal on earth," ol)served one ; " to- 
morrow we shall sit at table with Christ in His heavenly 

These words were interrupted by the mocking of an 
official who was present. " So you suppose the Lord 
will have a kitchen for you in heaven ? " he said, 

The Pastor Jakesch observed that, even at the 
Last Supper, Christ and His disciples had been inter- 
rupted and hindered in their discourses by the presence 
of Judas, and it was no wonder that the same should 
now happen. 

Dr. Hannschild, one of the condemned, declined 
partaking of the meal, saying, " The poor body has 
been long enough nourished. I need no further food." 

While thus conversing, news was brought that the 
condemned nobles were to be taken to join their com- 
panions in the same building. The other prisoners 
immediately rose and went to the window, as if to 
receive them ; and looking down on them as they passed, 


sang, in loud and clear tones, the forty-fourth Psalm to 
encourage them. 

The night was passed in prayer, singing hymns, and 
pious conversation and mutual exhortation. They sang, 
amongst others, the eighty-sixth Psalm ; and when they 
had come to the last verse, " Show me some token for 
good," John Kutnaw threw himself on his knees, ex- 
claiming, " Yea, show us a token for good, God ! that 
we. Thy unworthy servants, may be strengthened by Thy 
grace, and our enemies put to shame." And he added, 
as if speaking in the name of the Lord, in an outburst 
of enthusiastic confidence, " Trust in Him. He will 
hear our prayer, and show us a sign to-morrow to 
strengthen us, and to prove that we suffer in His name." 
Pastor Verbenius added, "By this sign you shall 
know it — that death, so bitter to the wicked, shall be 
sweet to you." 

When the morning dawned they washed and put on 
fresh apparel, as if preparing for a wedding. Kutnaw 
and some others remained for a time in earnest prayer 
that God would, if He saw fit, grant them a sign of His 
favour and their innocence before the people. 

The sun rose ; and, to the astonishment of all — for 
there had been no rain for the last two days — a brilliant 
rainbow appeared, its arch spanning the whole sky. It 
attracted the attention of all the assembled people ; and 
it can scarcely be wondered at that the prisoners, as 
they gazed on it from their window, looked on it as a 
sign of promise, recalling the covenant to Koah and the 
bow round the throne of God in the Apocalypse. They 
fell on their knees and praised God aloud. 

But, as the last bright colours faded away, the cannon 
from the tower thundered forth the signal at which the 


prisoners were to be led forth to die. The pastors 
went from one to another, with cheering words and 
exhortations to fight the last good fight bravely and 

And now was heard the trampling of the squadron of 
horse who, with a few bands of foot-soldiers, were bring- 
ing the scaffold for the last sad scene. The streets and 
the windows of the houses were all filled with eager 

The condemned went forth, calmly and firmly, one by 
one. Each, as his name was called, passed out with the 
serene and cheerful countenance of one bidden to a 
festival, after taking leave of his companions, generally 
with some such words as these : " Dear friends, farewell ! 
God give you the comfort, patience, and strength of His 
Holy Spirit, that you may be able to bear witness to 
the truth you have already upheld with heart, hand, 
and lips, in a glorious death ! I go first, and shall see 
the glory of my Lord Jesus Christ ! Follow me, and 
we shall all look together on the face of our Father 
in heaven ! Our sorrows are past, and a joyful eternity 
awaits us ! " 

The others replied : " God bless your going out, 
and lead you happily through the dark valley into 
the heavenly country ! The Lord Jesus send His 
holy angels to meet you ! Go forward, dear brother, 
into the Father's house. We follow. We shall soon 
meet in heavenly glory. We know in whom we have 

And most abundantly was the help vouchsafed on 
which they trusted. None of them lost for a moment 
the sense of their Lord's presence; and their earnest 
and heavenly words drew tears even from their judges. 


The people who saw them die broke into lamentation 
and weeping, which was only drowned by the sound of 
trumpets and drums. As each passed on to his death, 
the pastors returned to announce it to those who re- 
mained, who praised God for His help, and prayed that 
they might in like manner be sustained. 

The first who went forth was Count Andreas Schlick, 
a man more than fifty years old, and one of the most 
distinguished nobles of Bohemia in rank, talents, accom- 
plishmentS; and valour ; and his piety and calmness of 
demeanour were not less remarkable than his other gifts. 
He had been high in the service of King Frederick, and, 
after his defeat, had taken refuge in the 'dominions of 
the Elector of Saxony, whose tutor he had formerly 
been ; but the Elector, to please his allies, had his old 
friend and instructor arrested and taken to prison. 

When Count Schlick had heard the sentence that his 
body should be dismembered and exposed after death, 
he quietly replied, '' The loss of a funeral is an easy one 
to bear." 

On the scaffold he was harassed with entreaties from 
a Jesuit priest that he would recant. " You have yet 
time to repent, my lord," he repeated. 
" Leave me in peace," replied the count. 
As he stood on the scaffold, he looked up at the sun 
shining in the full blaze of a bright June morning. 
"Christ, the Sun of Eighteousness," he exclaimed, 
" grant that I may pass through the darkness of death 
to Thine everlastincr liaht ! " 

He walked up aiid down in meditation for some 
minutes, his face so radiant with solemn joy that the 
bystanders were moved to tears at the sight. He then 
knelt down and prayed, and received the death-blow. 


His head and right hand were placed on the bridge 
tower, and the scaffold prepared for a new comer. 

The Baron von Budowa followed, a man advanced in 
life, but full of animation and vigour, and richly gifted 
in talents and acquirements. He and Otto von Loss 
were officially the " Watchers of the Crown ;" and feel- 
ing that he ought to be at his post, he had returned when 
he had placed his wife, children, and grandchildren in 

" I am ready to seal the cause with my blood," he 
said, when arrested, to a friend who had remonstrated 
with him on his return. " Here I stand. My God," he 
added, " do with me as Thou wilt ! I am weary of life. 
Do Thovt take me, and let me not survive the ruin of 
my country." 

On hearing a report that he had died of grief, he 
exclaimed, smiling, '' I die of grief ! Scarcely ever had 
I such cause for joy as now. Here is my pleasure- 
garden" — and he held up his Bible. "Never did such 
sweet nectar and ambrosia flow from it as now. No ; I 
live, and shall live as long as it pleases God ; and I 
hope that day will never come when it can be said 
that Budowa died of grief." 

Three days before his sentence he related the follow- 
ing dream to his servant : He thought he was wandering 
in a garden, thinking anxiously on the business in hand, 
when a person approached him and handed him a book. 
He opened it, and saw that the leaves were of snow- 
white silk, and on one was inscribed the fifth verse of 
the thirty- seventh Psalm, " Commit thy way unto the 
Lord ; trust also in Him ; and He shall bring it to pass." 
As he pondered on these words, another came to him, 
and clothed him in a white garment. "So," said the 


old man, when lie awoke, " I go hence clothed with the 
robe of righteousness, that I may see the face of God^ 
in whom I have trusted." 

The Jesuits harassed him much upon his trial. " We 
would show you, my lord/' said one, " the way to heaven." 

" The way to heaven ! " said Budowa. " I know it 
already, through the mercy of my God." 

" You are deceived," rejoined the others. 

'' My hope," resumed the baron, " is grounded on 
certain truth ; for I know no way but through Him of 
whom it is said, ' I am the way, the truth, and the life.' " 

Later, his enemies reproached him with presumption 
for his full assurance of safety ; and a Jesuit professed 
to quote Scripture to the effect that man could not know 
whether he was the subject of grace or wrath. The 
baron referred to the apostle's words, "Henceforth there 
is laid up for me a crown of righteousness." The Jesuit 
objected that St. Paul said this of himself only . Budowa 
replied by quoting the end of the verse, " Not to me 
only, but unto all them also that love His appearing." 

This silenced the objector ; and Budowa asked him 
in what part of Scripture the words he had quoted 
against assurance could be found. The Jesuit was 
not sure. He believed they were in the Epistle to 
Timothy. "And you would teach me the way of 
salvation, and cannot show me these few words in 
the Bible ? " said the baron. " Go, and trouble me 
no further." 

" An honour awaits thee, my gray head," he said, on 
the scaffold, " to be a witness for the truth, and to wear 
the martyr's crown." He then prayed for the Church, 
his country, and his enemies, and, commending his 
soul to God, received the blow of the executioner. 



Baron Christoph Henaiit, a celebrated traveller, was 
another victim. He spoke of tlie perils he had encoun- 
tered for his country's sake, and his wonder that he 
should be condemned, though innocent, to a traitor's 
death. But he met his fate with the same pious 
composure and lively faith as his companions. 

The Knight Caspar Caplicz, a veteran of eighty, de- 
serves some notice. He spoke to the Pastor Ptosacius, 
after his sentence, w^ith tears in his eyes, but a cheerful 
demeanour. " My death," he said, " will be disgraceful 
in the eyes of the world, but glorious in God's sight ; for 
it is for Him I suffer." 

He received the Lord's Supper devoutly, lamenting 
that in his youth he had followed too many of the evil 
practices of the world, but thanking God that He had 
awakened him to repentance and a new life. 

"Yesterday," continued the pious old man, "my 
mother's sister announced to me, that if I would ask 
pardon and mercy from the Prince Lichtenstein, I might 
have my sentence commuted to imprisonment for life. 
But I told her I would not seek such a favour. If I 
asked for pardon, it would imply that I am guilty, and 
deserve death. And this is not the case. Tell the 
prince I will seek the favour of Him against whom I 
have sinned much in my former life. But to the prince 
I have done no harm. And if he granted me a prison 
instead of death, it would be a bad exchange for me. I 
am feeble, and weary of life. My eyes are dim, my ears 
dull ; I cannot walk without support. Life is burden- 
some to me even in freedom, and what would it be in a 
prison ? I am at peace with God," he added, later, " and 
iear no man. My flesh and heart fail, but God is my 
portion for ever. Sinner as I am, I am cleansed tlirough 


the blood of my Eedeemer. Let my hour come when it 
may, I am ready." 

As he arrayed himself with unusual care, and in his 
most costly apparel, he observed to a companion, " I am 
putting on my marriage garments." " The righteousness 
of Christ is the true clothing for the inner man," said the 
other. " I know it," rejoined the old knight ; " but for 
the honour of ray heavenly Bridegroom I wish also to 
be outwardly dressed in festive garments." 

He was now summoned to the scaffold. " In God's 
name," he replied ; " I have waited long enough." 
Supported by his servants — for he was too feeble to 
walk alone — he moved slowly to the place of execution, 
after taking^ leave of his friends. As he had to descend 
some stairs on his way, he said, " My God, give me 
strength, that I may not stumble, and cause my enemies 
to mock me ! " 

The old man was too stiff and weak to kneel without 
great difficulty. He begged the executioner to give the 
stroke as soon as he was able to place himself on his 
knees, as he could not remain long in that position. 
"Lord Jesus, into Thy hands I commend my spirit," 
were his last words. 

Prokop Dworzercky showed the same calm faith and 
resolution. " I had a long struggle with the old Adam 
the whole of last night," he said to the pastor ; " but, 
God be praised ! through His help I have gained the 
victory. My Saviour has died and risen again, to be 
Lord of the living and dead : and I know that my soul 
will also be victorious, and my body be raised up and 
made like to His glorious body." 

On the scaffold he turned to the imperial jn^lges. 
"Tell the emperor," he said, ''we must now sul mil. to 

G 2 


his unjust sentence ; but he will have to suffer a more 
severe and more just judgment from God." He gave 
his purse to a friend, begging him to give its contents 
to the poor. Then taking a gold coin, with the stamp 
of the Elector Palatine Frederick upon it, from his neck, 
he gave it to a bystander, saying, '' I entreat you, if my 
beloved king should again be restored to his throne, give 
him this, and tell him I wore it to my last hour from 
love to him, and now willingly give my life for God 
and my king." 

Otto von Loss was a man of acute mind and high 
resolve. He had filled situations of trust under both 
tlie Emperor Eudolf and King Frederick. 

When he learned that his body was to be exposed and 
dismembered after deatli, he said, " I have been among 
barljarous nations, but such vengeance as this I never 
witnessed 1 Well, they may send a portion of my body 
to Eome, another to Spain, another to the Turks, and 
another beyond the sea, as they please. I believe my 
Saviour will gather together all, and will clothe me 
a^^ain with flesh. W^ith my eyes I shall see Him, with 
my ears hear Him, with my mouth praise Him, and with 
my heart rejoice in Him for ever." 

'when Ptosacius, after accompanying Dworzercky to 
the scaffold, returned to the prison. Otto rose to meet 
him in a kind of rapture, exclaiming, " How I rejoice to 
meet you, man of God, that I may tell you wdiat has 
happened to me ! I was sitting on this seat, sorrowing 
because I could not have a minister of my own Church 
to f^ive me the Lord's Supper after our fashion, and I 
be^an to regret, as I do now, that I did not join the 
others and receive it from you. While full of these 
tliouohts I fell asleep for a moment, and my Saviour 


appeared to me, saying, * My grace is sufficient fur tliee : 
with My blood I will strengthen thee;' and He let a drop 
of His blood fall on my heart. At the touch I awoke, 
and now I feel myself wonderfully strengthened and 
refreshed in my soul." 

He then broke forth into an ecstasy of prayer and 
thanksgiving. " I thank Thee, my Saviour ! " he ex- 
claimed, " that Thou hast given me such consolation, 
and hast counted me worthy to feel this assurance of 
Thy grace. Now I understand these words, ' Believe, 
and thou hast eaten and drunken.' Ah, I feel now that 
I die with joy ; death has no terrors for me." 

When he was called to go to the scaffold, he asked 
Eosacius to accompany him. " Willingly," replied the 
good pastor. " You have just seen the Lord Jesus in a 
dream," he added ; '•' but soon you will see Him among 
the blest, as He is in His glory." " I am sure of it," 
replied Von Loss. " He is coming to meet me with His 
angels, to lead me to the heavenly marriage feast, where 
I shall drink of the cup of joy for ever. Oh ! I know 
death w^ill not separate me from Him." 

On the scaffold he appeared absorbed in prayer ; then 
suddenly raising his eyes, he exclaimed, " I see the 
heavens opened !" and pointed to the sky, where even 
others thought they saw au unusual brightness of glory, 
as of an ano-elic host in battle arrav. Commending; his 
soul to his Saviour, he joyfully received the death- 

Boleslaus von Michalowicz showed the same s^^irit. 
He was full of eager longiug for martyrdom ; and when 
liis companions were led out, one by one, before him, 
he feared he was forgotten, and exclaimed sorrowfully, 
" My God ! what is this ? Thou knowest I liave given 


myself into Thy hands ! Ah 1 look on Thy poor servant, 
and take me quickly ! " 

The officer of justice now summoned him. He rose 
joyfully, and with words of fervent trust in his Saviour 
laid his head on the block. 

Another victim, Tobias Hiffel, a burgher of Prague, a 
man of gentle and mild temper and eminent jDiety, 
seemed depressed but resigned throughout his imprison- 
ment. " I have received good at the Lord's hands/' he 
said ; " shall I not also receive evil ? I thank the mercy 
of my God, who has allowed me to be the companion of 
these distinguished men, and share with them the crown 
of martyrdom." 

When he was led forth to the scaffold he raised his 
hands to heaven, with tearful eyes, and said, " When 
my Saviour died for me, He said, ' Father, not My will, 
but Thine be done ! ' How I, a worm of the dust, shall I 
desire to resist His will ? God forbid ! See, my God, I 
come obediently to Thee ; have mercy on me, and 
cleanse me from my sins, that not a spot or wrinkle 
may be found on me, but I may appear purified in Thy 
presence !" 

The pastor consoled him with promises from the 
Scriptures. " A little while," he replied, " and the Lord 
will wipe away all tears from my face, and all sorrow 
and anguish shall be changed into everlasting joy ! " 
With these words he rose, subdued, but calm and 
trustful, and expired with prayer on his lips. 

Jessenius, a Hungarian physician, celebrated for 
learning and talent, and who had held high offices 
under several princes, received one of the severest of the 
sentences. When he heard of the dismemberment after 
death, he said, as if prophetically, " The time will come 


when our heads, now so shamefully exposed and made 
a spectacle, will receive honourable interment." 

This did actually happen. During the short trium- 
phant career of Gustavus Adolphus, the Elector of 
Saxony entered Prague with a victorious army, and the 
heads of the martyrs were taken down from the tower 
of the bridge, and solemnly interred in the presence of 
a large concourse of people, and a funeral sermon 
preached by a pastor recalled from banishment. 

The Jesuits made many efforts to induce Jessenius to 
recant. While they were dwelling on the efficacy of 
good works, he turned to them, and observed, " Gentle- 
men, if I were to come over to your belief, there would 
not be time left for me to complete so great a collection 
of works of merit as you demand, and then what would 
become of my soul ? " 

" My dear Jessenius," replied a Jesuit, '' the will to 
do them is all that is needed ; and then, if you die 
this moment, we can promise that you will go straight 
to heaven ! " 

" Then what becomes of your purgatory, which was 
intended for those who did not fill up the prescribed 
tale of good works ? " asked Jessenius. 

The Jesuits were silenced, and withdrew ashamed. 
Jessenius was condemned to lose his tongue before his 
head was struck off. " It is hard," he observed, '' to be 
so cruelly robbed of the tongue with which I have 
faithfully served so many princes ; but I shall not be 
dumb in the resurrection." 

He patiently submitted to this cruel mutilation, and 
then fell on his knees and prayed with stammering lips, 
till the executioner's death-blow freed his soul. 

" I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of 


the Lord in the land of the living," said Christoph 
Eoker, another of the martyrs, as he calmly prepared 
for execution ; and, commending his spirit to the Lord, 
he laid his head on the scaffold. 

Another repeated with lively faith the words of 
Simeon, " Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in 
peace." They were his last words. 

Nicolas Wodniansky, an aged man, was encouraged 
by his son John, a burgher of Prague. " Father," he 
said, weeping bitterly, " if hopes of life are held out to 
you on condition of falling from the faith, think on the 
fidelity we owe to Christ." '' My son," replied the 
father, " I rejoice that you urge me to stedfastness ; but 
how can you think I should give way ? Eather let me 
warn you to be firm in treading in my steps, and keep 
your sisters and brothers and children in the same 

John was conducted to a different gallows from that 
on which his friend Kutnaw and his father-in-law were 
to suffer. At first this grieved him ; but on being 
reminded of the glory of suffering shame for Christ's 
name, he was cheered, and met his fate with serene 

Kutnaw, whose prayer for a sign from God has been 
already mentioned, was the youngest of the victims (he 
was scarcely forty) ; but in his lofty enthusiasm and 
joyful firmness he almost surpassed them all. A Jesuit 
who had vainly endeavoured to convert him said to one 
of his colleagues, " These men are as hard as rocks ; 
they cannot be moved." " Yes," said Kutnaw, " you are 
right. We are founded on Christ, a Eock that shall 
never be moved." 

He was condemned to be handed, not beheaded. " I 


know not," he said, " liow the executioner will deal with 
me, and I care not ; I only regret that my blood will 
not mingle with that of my companions." He embraced 
his friends warmly; and seeing tears in the eyes of some 
who were to remain in prison, he encouraged them, 
saying, "It is but a little while, and we shall all be 
together in glory." 

He sang a Bohemian hymn as he approached the 
scaffold. His last words were, " I have 'committed no 
crime ; I die because I have been faithful to my country 
and the gospel. God forgive my enemies ; they know 
not what they do; and then. Lord Jesus, have mercy 
on me, and receive my spirit ! " 

His father-in-law, Sussicky, who was nearly of the 
same age, was hanged beside him. The words in Gala- 
tians, " Cursed is he that hangeth on a tree," had been 
very distressing to him ; but the Pastor Verbenius had 
pointed out to him that Christ, having been made a 
curse for us, had abolished the curse and condemnation. 
This cheered his soul, and his peace and joy never left 
him afterwards. The others all met their fate in the 
same spirit. Some expired singing hymns of praise, 
others exhorting their companions with words of faith 
and hope. 

Those who escaped capital punishment had, perhaps, 
more to suffer. One of them was condemned to have 
his tongue pierced with a sharp spear, being thus fastened 
to the gallows, in which torture he remained two hours. 
He was then sent back to prison, where he remained 
four years, and was afterwards banished. This cruel 
punishment was inflicted merely because he had been 
appointed to welcome King Frederick, when he entered 
Prague, with a greeting in the name of the citizens, and 



had saluted him with good wishes when he left. Several 
others were beaten severely with rods, imprisoned, and 

The Moravian nobles who had taken part with the 
elector were imprisoned for four years, and their goods 

On the 28th of June, 1621, a week after the execution 
of the prisoners at Prague, the property of all who had 
been put to death or banished, or who had taken flight 
in the first instance, was formally confiscated. 



The rest of the nobility who had had any share in the 
late proceedings remained in painful suspense, expecting 
their share of the punishment. It came very soon. In 
the following year a mandate was published proclaiming 
a general pardon for past offences against the govern- 
ment. But all these political offenders must forfeit to 
the crown a portion of their estates, to help the emperor, 
as it was alleged, to pay the expenses of the war. 

This so-called pardon, therefore, was really a heavy 
fine. It amounted in fact to more — to a general 
spoliation. All the offenders were ordered to make an 
estimate of their property, with the view of arranging 
for the payment of the subsidy. But, to secure the 
full amount being paid, they were compelled to deliver 
up the whole of their property in land, houses, castles, 
villages, &c. ; and in return they received a paper or 
bond for the portion which they were supposed to have 
restored to them. In this paper they were directed to 
await the decision of the Imperial Chamber in order to 
receive back the remainder of their property. 

But, on one pretence or another, the whole was in this 
way withheld from them. Some retired to the towns, 
some undertook the superintendence of their former 
property, to support themselves, others found an asylum 
with Eomanist friends and relatives ; a few succeeded, 


by private interest, or by making a fresh purchase, in 
recovering their own or their wives' property. Move- 
able property was often inckided in this spoliation ; and 
some were even compelled to alight from their carriages, 
to give up their horses and the boxes of valuables they 
were carrying. 

Many were included in this vexatious measure who 
had taken no open part against the government ; some 
even who, from sickness or infirmity, would have been 
utterly unable to do so if they had been willing. 

Means were found to seize the property of those who 
had money lent at interest. The castles, estates, and 
villages thus seized were divided among the Italian, 
Spanish, and German favourites of the emperor. 

But the vengeance of the conquerors was not limited 
to the nobility and richer inhabitants. It was to extend 
by degrees to all — warlike or peaceful, high or low, rich 
or poor — who followed the doctrines of the Eeformed 

The first measure passed against the Evangelicals 
generally was a decree, issued in the second year after 
the battle of Weissenberg, and against the Anabaptists 
of Moravia. This sect possessed about forty-five meeting- 
houses, which also served as dwelling-places to many 
private families among them. According to the princi- 
ples they then held, they had their goods in common ; 
they lived peaceably, were a burden on no one, and 
carried on their various callings quietly and diligenily. 

In the autumn of 1622 these humble and peaceful 
Christians were all banished, on the pretext of their 
having shown hospitality to King Frederick when he 
passed through Bohemia, It was just the time of 
vintage ; but there must be no delay ; these homeless 


families must leave their houses, and fields, and vine- 
yards loaded with ripening grapes to be gathered by 
other hands. They placed their families and moveables 
in some hundred waggons ; and unarmed, according to 
their principles, they quietly removed into the neigh- 
bouring states of Hungary and Transylvania, where 
they found a safe and peaceful asylum, and were spared 
the sufferings which their countrymen and brethren in 
the faith were soon to encounter. 

The next step was to endeavour to expel the 
" Picards," or members of the Brethren's Church, and 
those of the Calvinistic or Eeformed communions ; but 
this was not easy at first to accomplish. Many nobles 
of unimpeached loyalty to the emperor belonged to each 
of these communions, and some pretext must be found 
for banishing them, which was a more difficult task 
than in the case of the poor unprotected Anabaptists. 

Then, a^ain, the members of the Calvinist and 
Lutheran communions could not always be easily dis- 
tinguished ; and, finally, the time was not come when 
it would be safe to offend the Protestant princes of 
Germany. But the enemies of the Eeformed faith 
were numerous, zealous, and united ; and they were 
prepared to bide their time. It was determined, as a 
preliminary step, to place all on the list of condemned, 
and then to await a fitting occasion for carrying out the 
plan of action. 

One of the principal actors in this well-laid scheme 
was a Jesuit of low origin, named Paul Michna. His 
zeal for the house of Austria and the cause of the pope, 
and his active spirit of intrigue, had raised him to rank 
and influence ; he had been among the first consulted 
as to the measures to be taken. He advised delay, 


because, as he said, the banished nobles might take a 
good deal of property out of the country with them. 
The first step must be, therefore, to deprive them of 
their goods. 

In accordance with this plan, after the surrender of 
Prague, the soldiers had been permitted to plunder the 
houses of the nobles and rich citizens ; and, as much 
valuable property had been stored up in the city, as in 
a place of safety, the army reaped a rich harvest. 

Heavy contributions were then levied on the inhabi- 
tants ; and' they were compelled to support the army 
for a considerable time at their own expense. Some 
few were induced to renounce the faith, in hopes of 
beino- freed from these impositions. Promises were 
made to that effect, which were not kept ; and on the 
sufferers complaining, the Jesuits were ready with their 
answer : 

" We are treating you," they said, " like children or 
fools, who must be coaxed with kind words and pro- 
mises, which we may not choose to keep, to give up a 
knife or other dangerous ^^^apon they may have laid 
hold of. We have done this in care for your souls: 
and now you should show your gratitude to the con- 
queror by more zealously contributing your money 
and support to the soldiers." 

The kingdom had been, by this means, nearly stripped 
of gold and silver. The emperor then issued a coinage 
made of a mixture of silver and gold, which was widely 
circulated, that the common people, ignorant of such 
matters, might be deceived into thinking it genuine ; 
but the soldiers would be satisfied with nothing less 
than good coin. The value of gold and silver increased 
tenfold. In the year 1624 the emperor passed an edict 


to lower it, and declared that each coin should be worth 
only a tenth of its former value. It can easily be 
imagined what general distress was occasioned by this 
oppressive edict. 

At last, after every corner had been searched and 
plundered, an order was passed to relieve debtors by 
cancelling every debt which had been voluntarily in- 
curred during the rebellion, and excusing the interest 
of part of the principal of what had been lent before the 
war, while the payment of the remainder was to be 
postponed for ten years. Thus the prosperity of the 
whole kingdom was ruthlessly sacrificed, in order to 
carry out the persecuting principles of the Popish and 
Imperial party. 

But to return to the course of events following the 
battle at Prague. The emperor and his party had now 
completely despoiled their opponents. The next step 
was to drive them to desperation by insults and 
persecution. No expression of scorn or mockery, in 
writing, printed books and pamphlets, caricatures, and 
insolent jesting words, was spared. But this was only 
general persecution, and it could not satisfy the mialice 
of the enemies of the truth. 

A so-called " Eeformation Committee " of monks and 
Jesuits was formed, whose office it was to go through 
the various districts, towns, and villages of the country, 
pointing out the evils of heresy in the blackest colours, 
praising the Komish Church, and, by flattery, promises, 
threats, or ill usage, to entice or frighten all into re- 
canting and embracing the Pomish faith. 

Whoever wished to leave the country must first obtain 
a passport ; but, before receiving it, he was harassed and 
pressed with vexatious questions and exhortations by 


the Jesuits. If he refused to conform to the Eomish 
Church, he was invited at least to consent to receive 
instruction. Anyone Avho yielded to this was in the 
power of the priests, and by daily harassing and urging 
they too often gained their point. Whosoever refused, 
was banished forthwith. Many submitted in order to 
gain time to arrange their affairs ; but if, after receiving 
the prescribed course of instruction, they declared their 
belief unchanged, they were accused of despising his 
imperial majesty, and ran considerable risk of being 
punished for high treason. 

A systematic persecution of the Evangelical pas- 
tors of Bohemia followed. A foretaste of this had 
been already given in the cruelty with which all such 
were treated who had the misfortune to fall into the 
hands of the imperial soldiers. A few instances may 

Wenzel Wotic, the aged pastor of Bistricz in Moravia, 
was found by a Polish regiment in the emperor's service 
lying sick in bed ; he was seized, robbed, and shot dead. 
But his fate was a more merciful one than that of many 
of his brethren, who, on pretence of being supposed to 
conceal treasure, were put to the most horrible tortures 
to force them to disclose it. Several were actually 
burned alive with their wives, and others put to deaths 
too fearful to describe. 

One of these pastors, however, had a most remarkable 
escape. He was arrested in his house by fifteen horse- 
men, who bound his hands, head, and feet tightly with 
cords, and laid him on the ground, to await further 
tortures on the morrow. While "he lay in this condition 
he engaged in earnest prayer, and adopted as his own 
the language of the psalm, " In Thee, Lord, have 


I put my trust." Just as he had ended the psalm, he 
felt, to his great astonishment, the cords loosening 
round his hands and feet, and presently found himself 
freed. He rose softly, opened the door, and passed by 
the guard. Three soldiers were keeping watch, one of 
whom held the door-latch in his hand ; but all seemed 
as if stupefied, and either sleepy or unable from the 
noise of a violent tempest which had begun to rage to 
hear the sound of his footsteps. He passed them un- 
molested, reached the city gate, and was then recognised 
by a soldier on guard. But fortunately the man was 
a Bohemian, and was won over by entreaties to let his 
countryman pass ; and the prisoner escaped to a place 
of safety. 

In the beginning of the year 1621 six articles 
were laid before the General Evangelical Consistory, 
to which all the pastors of Prague, Bohemian and 
German, of all three confessions, were required to sub- 
scribe. These articles amounted, in fact, to a complete 
renunciation of the Pieformed faith. The pastors were 
to be reordained by the archbishop, to restore all 
the ancient ceremonies, to separate from their wives, 
or to request, as a favour, that their marriages might 
be tolerated. 

The pastors unanimously refused to violate their con- 
sciences by signing these articles. Their enemies had 
then recourse to other means. On the 13th December, 
1621, an edict was passed, in the name of Prince 
Lichtenstein, laying the whole blame of the rebellion on 
the clergy of Prague : they were represented as enemies 
to the public peace, and commanded to leave the city 
in three days, and the kingdom in eight days, never to 
return on any pretext, on pain of death. 




In this manner all the Bohemian pastors were 
banished from Prague, and their churches given up to 
the Jesuits. We can imagine the universal dismay, 
distress, and anguish with which these Christian 
ministers parted from their flocks. 



The Bohemian-speaking inhabitants of Prague, deprived 
of their own ministers, now flocked to the German 
services, which they could in some degree understand ; 
for the German pastors, out of regard to the Elector of 
Saxony, were not immediately subjected to the same 
treatment as the Bohemians. 

But the indulgence shown them was only temporary. 
The Jesuits, seeing the German services so numerously 
attended, resolved rather to incur the displeasure of the 
elector than to allow this abuse, as they considered it, to 
continue. They did not, indeed, speak of " banishing " 
the German pastors, but only graciously dismissing them ; 
the difference, however, was only nominal. 

In spite of the protests of the elector, the pastors 
were compelled to depart from Prague on the 29th of 
October, 1622. They were accompanied by a multitude 
of Bohemians as well as Germans, to whom they preached 
farewell sermons in the fields, while the air resounded 
with the loud weeping and lamentations of their auditors. 

The next step was to extend the edict of banishment 
to the pastors throughout the whole of Bohemia. This 
work was commenced in the same year, and after a 
fashion quite characteristic of the whole work. The 
" Pteformation Commissioners," as they were called, as 

II 2 


if in mockery, passed from city to city to carry out the 

Michna, at the head of a troop of horse, entered the 
church of Schlan ; it was a festival day, and the pastor, 
Johann Kaupilius, a man of learning and talent as well 
as piety, was reading the gospel at the communion- 
table. A soldier was directed to impose silence on liim. 
The minister continued calmly to read on. Michna 
stepped forward, drew his sword, and exclaiming, 
"Shameless preacher, cease your babbling ! " struck the 
Bible out of his hands. 

The pastor's reply was to raise his hands and eyes to 
heaven, with the words, " Woe unto you ! for ye shut 
the gates of heaven, and will not suffer men to enter 
in ! I am ready," he continued, " to suffer this and 
more for the sake of my Lord Jesus Christ." " Your 
Lord ! " cried a soldier, repeating the sacred name again 
and again in mocking tones. " We have the emperor 
for our lord ! " 

The people were struck with horror at the blasphe- 
mous words, and many wept aloud. The principal 
members of the town-council now came forward, and 
promised that their pastor would appear when he was 
summoned, but protested against any violence being 
shown him. The commissary first threatened to im- 
prison Kaupilius ; but, at the entreaty of some ladies in 
the city, he consented to set him free on condition of 
his departing within three days. 

Three years afterwards, the faithful pastor died of 
the plague in his place of banishment. On his death- 
bed he had a remarkable dream, which he related to his 
friends. He thought he w^as standing in a library of 
choice books. As he examined them, a small volume 


caught his eye, which bore this title in Latin, in letters 
of gold : It is good that the righteous should he sacrificed : 
they shall at last receive the crown. He felt moved with 
ardent love to the book, and placed it under his left arm, 
to study it at leisure. But he awoke at the same 
moment, roused probably by the pain which marked the 
presence of the fatal plague-spot under the arm where 
he had held the book in his dream. 

He had written and published several works during 
his exile, manifesting the same ardent zeal for truth 
which had characterized his life. 

By degrees the other towns and villages of Bohemia 
were in like manner deprived of their preachers. The 
churches were filled, in their stead, with Eomish priests ; 
and, as a sufficient number could not be easily found 
on the spur of the moment, monks from Poland were 
brought, and others from other places, many of them 
of the lowest and most depraved character, whose vices 
created general scandal. 

By August, 1624, all the Evangelical ministers in 
Bohemia — Lutheran, Picard, and Eeformed, German 
and Bohemian — were driven from the country. 

Some returned, from time to time, in secret, and en- 
deavoured to collect their hearers in hiding-places among 
the forests and mountains, where they instructed them 
and administered the sacraments. But when this became 
known to their enemies, a fresh edict was obtained from 
the emperor in July, 1625, threatening with punishment 
all who should harbour a banished preacher, and offering 
rewards to those who should betray the hiding-place of 
any such. Several preachers were seized and thrown 
into prison, where every effort was made by the Jesuits, 
by threats and promises, to induce them to recant. 


Some were, unhappily, driven by fear and suffering 
to renounce their faith; but, by the grace of God, the 
greater number of those who had fallen into the hands 
of the enemy remained faithful. Some few were set 
free after a long imprisonment, on condition of quitting 
•the country, never to return on pain of death ; others 
were compelled, in addition, to pay heavy fines. 

Matthias Ulicky, the deacon of Czaslau, returned in 
1627 from banishment in order to visit his sick wife. 
He was found in a place of concealment, arrested and 
brought to Czaslau, where Michna and others of the 
reigning powers were assembled. It was found on 
inquiry that he had been during the last three years 
concealed in the neighbourhood, and had encouraged 
many of his former flock to remain faithful to the truth. 
He was told that his life might be spared if he 
conformed to Eome ; but, sustained by a strength not 
his own, he declared boldly that be held his ofiice not 
from the emperor, but from Christ, and had never laid 
it down at the command of men, and that he could 
never renounce his faith. He was asked if he celebrated 
the Lord's Supper " in the Calvinistic fashion " (that is, 
in both kinds). " I do so, in accordance with the 
example and command of Christ," he replied. 

Kostschnik, one of the inquisitors, tried to urge him 
to confess he had taken part against the emperor. 
" Do not burden your conscience," he said, " by denying 
your crime." " I have cared for my conscience better 
than you have for yours," replied the pastor. The 
justice of this reproach so preyed on the mind of the 
inquisitor that his agitation brought on an illness which 
eventually proved fatal. 

The pastor was led to execution. As he went, the 


judge proclaimed, with a loud voice, " This man is 
guilty of sedition ! " " No ! " replied the prisoner, 
raising his voice ; " I am suffering for Christ's truth." 

Professor John Aquila attempted to hand him a hymn- 
hook, as he passed out of the city gate, for which he was 
struck with a stick and driven away. Ulicky, however, 
had a well-stored memory, and sang through the seven- 
tieth psalm and several hymns ; but drums and trumpets 
were employed to drown his voice. " To-day," he 
exclaimed, on the scaffold, " my soul will be with Christ !" 
With these words he knelt down, commended his soul 
to the Saviour, and patiently awaited the blow of the 
executioner. His right hand was first struck off, because 
with it he had held the cup to the laity ; he was then 

All the Evangelical ministers were thus driven 
from the country ; and any who harboured them, under 
whatever pretext, were liable to severe punishment. 

One brave man, the Baron von Zierotin, dared openly 
to remonstrate against the injustice of being deprived 
of the ministrations of his pastor. He went himself to 
Vienna, and laid his complaint before the emperor. " I 
cannot conscientiously do otherwise," was Ferdinand's 
reply. '* But I, too," said the baron, " am pledged to 
God by my conscience, and I entreat your majesty not 
to compel me to violate it." " I will not force you to 
violate your conscience," said the emperor ; " but I can- 
not suffer you to retain your minister." " But I cannot 
dispense with Divine service," said the baron, " and for 
that I require a pastor." 

His determination actually gained the day. Without 
obtaining the permission of the emperor, he persisted 
not only in retaining his chaplain, Paul Hronow, but, 


like Obadiali of old, sheltered many others (amongst 
them, the President of the Bohemian Brethren in 
Moravia, John Lanetius, a venerable man of more than 
seventy) in places of concealment, and provided them 
with food. 

Hronow held a service in the baron's castle not only 
for the retainers and vassals, but for all the neighbours 
who held the same faith, who were admitted freely without 
fear of consequences. Some other firm-minded men of 
rank followed this good example, till a general sentence 
of banishment put a stop to every effort of the kind. 

But in July, 1627, an imperial mandate appeared, 
declaring that heresy was the root of all the miseries 
under which Bohemia suffered, and that the emperor's 
conscience would not permit him to suffer any to remain 
with this taint upon him. Six months were granted, 
during which the higher classes were to be allowed 
time and opportunity for being instructed in the 
Komish faith, and the " Eeformation Commissioners " 
were appointed to carry out these arrangements. At 
the end of the six months' probation, all who remained 
obstinate were to sell their property to Eoman Catholics, 
and depart from the kingdom. 

And now was come the sifting time which should 
show who were really firm in the faith. Those who 
felt their religion to be a matter which concerned their 
inmost hearts, and loved their Lord weU enough to give 
up all for His sake, went at once into exile. 

Some tried to move the emperor to compassion, and 
endeavoured to obtain a respite, making all kinds of 
excuses for not following his directions. Some even 
succeeded in purchasing false testimonials that they had 
confessed and attended mass, and thus evaded the decree. 


The more upright and devoted left their homes and 
inheritances, and passed into other countries with their 
wives and children. Most of them emigrated into 
Silesia, Poland, and Hungary. Among these exiles was 
the pious old Baron von Zierotin, who could easily have 
obtained leave to stay, if he would have given up 
Protestant worship ; but he was one to whom his faith 
was dearer than all earthly possessions or comfort. 
He was obliged to sell his estates at half their price, 
and went, with the emperor's sanction, to Breslau in 

But even in banishment these exiles were not left in 
peace. In 1628 they were informed by an imperial 
missive that they must not remain in any of the 
provinces belonging to the emperor. They were to be 
liable to punishment if they did not go entirely out of 
his dominions. 

An attempt was made to compel all Eomanists who 
had Protestant wives to send them out of the country ; 
but some of the highest of the nobility were in this case, 
and, not choosing to part from their wives, they made so 
determined a resistance to this decree that they were 
at last permitted to retain them, on the condition that 
these ladies should withdraw from all festivities and 
public ceremonies, give the precedence to Eomanists 
whenever they did appear, and at the death of their 
husbands immediately leave the country. 

The Evangelical tutors and schoolmasters, and all 
who took part in the instruction of youth, were 
banished, and it was penal for parents to have their 
children instructed by any but a Eomanist. Severe 
penalties were laid on all who should infringe a 
multitude of new regulations relative to the Eomish 


ceremonial; and many chief citizens of Prague and 
other towns were banished on frivolous pretexts. 

The Eeformation Commissioners were indefatigable 
in finding means of tormenting or frightening men 
into giving up their faith. In 1625, on Easter Eve, all 
the citizens of Leitmeritz were summoned by name to 
appear at the sermon and mass on Easter Sunday. 
Every one who attended was to receive a ticket with 
his name signed by the priest, and a fine was imposed 
on aU who should fail to appear. But the summons 
was not responded to, or only in part 

A numerous body of soldiers was then quartered on 
the town, and placed in the houses of the refractory, 
and every means used to annoy and terrify them into 
submission. After a year of these efforts an edict was 
passed, banishing all who would not conform to the 
Eomish religion ; and, to the honour of Leitmeritz, it 
must be said that the larger number of the Evangelical 
inhabitants preferred emigration to apostasy. 

At Konigsgratz the Croatian soldiers were called in 
to help the Eomish teachers, and actually endeavoured 
with drawn swords to force the people into joining a 
procession. But this only produced general alarm, 
tumult, and confusion. The Eeformation Commissioners 
called in further military aid, and applied individually 
to the principal citizens to induce them to submit. 

One of the first so addressed was Nicolas Acontius, 
a physician residing in the neighbourhood, who had 
been for several years completely laid up with gout. 
The archdeacon, accompanied by Strauss, the captain 
of the guard, came to visit the sick man, and asked 
him " if he would not now become a Catholic ? " "As 
long as I have no reasons which can- convince my 


mind, I dare not act against my conscience," replied 
the courageous old man. 

" We cannot allow your deceitful tricks any longer," 
said the archdeacon, angrily, 

" There can he no deceit where the eye, heart, and 
conscience are single," replied Acontius. 

The priest lost his temper completely. " We shall 
never bring this town to reason," he cried, " till three 
or four heads have been cut off ! " 

" If you find my head is in your way," replied the old 
physician, calmly, " and you have a right to it, you can 
strike it off at once. I would rather have this poor half- 
decayed body cut in pieces than violate my conscience." 

The archdeacon started up in a rage and rushed out. 
Captain Strauss, as he followed him, said in a low- 
voice to Acontius, " Sir, the world is wide ; a way of 
escape will be opened to you." 

The gates of the city were now closed, and the 
citizens severely threatened, to enforce compliance. The 
timid promised to allow themselves to be instructed ; 
those who refused were arrested and placed in confine- 
ment. Every stronghold, and even the cellars and 
anterooms of the town-hall, were crowded with 
prisoners. The houses were filled with soldiers, who 
were ready to do their part in tormenting the 
unfortunate inmates. 

Most of the prisoners at last lost their courage, and 
asked for a respite to receive instruction, thus giving 
themselves up into the hands of the enemy. Twenty- 
eight alone among the citizens had the firmness to give 
up all for conscience' sake, and go into banishment with 
their families. Acontius joined this little band, though 
so feeble and suffering that it was with difficulty he 


could enter the carriage which was to convey him to 
Poland. He survived his exile nine years, bearing his 
bodily sufferings with cheerful patience, and at last 
peacefully fell asleep in Christ.^ 

At Bidschow, some miles from Konigsgratz, Don 
Martin de Huerda was employed to terrify the in- 
habitants into compliance. Their spokesman, John 
Kolacznich, said, in the name of his companions : " It 
does not lie in the power of any one to forget in an 
hour what he has been learning throughout his whole 
life ; and one could not cast away what he had held as 
Divine truth, unless better doctrine could be taught 
him from God's Word." 

Huerda, beside himself with rage, started from his 
seat, flew on the speaker, and beat him furiously with 
the stick he held in his hand. He also ordered the 
keeper of the town-hall to be called, and, foaming with 
rage, commanded him to drive Kolacznich out of the 
town. His colleagues, terrified by this violence, con- 
sented to allow themselves to receive instruction. Some 
tried to save their consciences by flight, and sent their 
wives secretly before them with their little property ; 
but the plan was discovered, the women pursued, robbed, 
brought back and put in prison, whence they w^ere not 
released till they and their husbands had consented to 
become Eoman Catholics, which, alas ! they at last did. 

At Saaz, another considerable town, a number of 

•^ It is impossible to read of these cruelties at Konigsgratz without 
feeling as if there was something like a very solemn retribution in the 
circumstance that this very place was, two centuries later, the scene of 
Austria's most signal defeat. It is not the only instance in modern 
history in which the spot where a great wickedness has been perpetrated 
has been made, like Naboth's vineyard, the scene of righteous retri- 


Bibles and Evangelical books were seized and burned. 
The soldiers were quartered on the people, and made 
havoc of their goods. A meeting was then called in 
the town-hall, and Don Martin de Huerda declared that 
all who would consent to go to mass and confession 
should be freed from the burden of the soldiers 
quartered on them, but that all who resisted should 
have double burdens laid upon them. 

The majority of the members of the council seemed 
paralysed with terror at the threats of the Spaniard. 

One of the presidents, Wenzel Wisocky, however, 
summoned courage to address Huerda. He spoke 
calmly and moderately, and dwelt on the rights of 
conscience. Don Martin started up furiously, boxed 
the ears of the speaker several times, and abused 
him in the grossest terms. He then called for iron 
chains, and commanded them to be fastened on the 
hands and feet of Wenzel, while a thicker chain was 
placed round his neck and attached again to his hands, 
so as to keep him bent forwards. He remained in 
prison three weeks in this painful and cramped posture, 
with no food but bread and water. None of his own 
friends were permitted access to him, and the Jesuits 
harassed him night and day. 

They threatened him with death, but this he pre- 
ferred to recanting. They then declared he was possessed 
with a devil, and ordered his chains to be drawn tighter. 
The poor man, almost distracted with bodily and mental 
suffering, at last consented to confess. His yielding 
seems to have been almost involuntary ; and as soon as 
the pressure was taken off, he showed his real earnest- 
ness of belief by giving up his home and country to 
worship according to his conscience. Being allowed to 


go to some mineral baths to recruit his broken health, 
he took advantage of the permission, and left his 
country never to return. 

More than a hundred citizens of Konigsgratz escaped 
secretly, leaving all they possessed. Many of these 
were men of the highest rank. One of them, Herr von 
Kraliz, was married to a lady of great wealth ; but both 
husband and wife were prepared to leave all for the 
truth's sake. The lady abandoned her property, escaped 
through an underground sewer, joined her husband with 
much difficulty, and followed him into exile. 

Some fugitives were driven, by extreme want in the 
land of their exile, to return and endeavour to seek 
some help from their native country. But too often 
they were seized and imprisoned. Two citizens of 
Saaz fell in this way into the hands of Huerda, who 
tormented them till their health and almost their reason 
were destroyed. They were at last set free when half 
dead with suffering. 

Another persecutor, no less cruel than Huerda, was 
Zdenko, Lord of Kolowrath. He was sent by Prince 
Lichtenstein with a troop of horse to the town of 
.Kokycan. After loading the peaceful citizens with the 
vilest abuse and mockery, he laid before them a paper 
with three lists. The first contained the names of all 
who were already Eomanists. These were but six in 
number, all of whom had renounced the Evangelical faith. 
The second contained those who were ready to become 
Eoman Catholics in a fortnight; and the third those who, 
as Zdenko expressed it, resisted God and the emperor. 

The citizens were compelled to sign this register. 
The number of the recusants was by far the greatest ; 
and Zdenko loaded them with curses, declaring they 


were worthy only of the wheel and the cross in this 
world, and hell in the next. 

The next day was St. Thomas's Day. Zdenko ordered 
them all to appear in the church, and himself set them 
the example by receiving the consecrated wafer at mass. 
After dinner he again caused the bells to be rung, to 
collect the people into the church ; but, on entering him- 
self, he found the monks and other faithful worshippers 
unpunctual, and the others remaining absent. The 
church was empty. Transported with rage, he rushed 
into the market-place, entered the streets and the 
private houses, and drove all he could find to the church 
with a stick ! 

On re-entering the church, he found there a leading 
citizen, named John Streic, well known as a firm 
Calvinist. Snatching a cudgel from a peasant who stood 
by, he drove Streic to the altar, cursing him as he went, 
because, as he said, he had placed himself on the list of 
the reprobates by refusing confession. 

Streic mildly begged him to consider the sacredness 
of a place of worship, and to moderate his violence. 
Zdenko replied by a shower of furious blows on his head, 
face, and hands. Streic threw himself on his knees, 
and prayed for help. At last, when the tyrant saw the 
blood flowing in streams from his victim, he cried, " Be 
off, with your Calvinist blood ! " and turned from him. 

The pious and brave sufferer quietly left the church 
and when met by some who asked what had hap- 
pened to him, he meekly replied, " I have shed my 
blood at the altar; but it was for His sake who shed 
His blood for me in far greater abundance." 

Zdenko turned to the other burghers, and endea- 
voured to compel them to confess. With oaths and 


curses, he struck some, spat in the face of others ; 
and, seizing on one venerable old man, Wenzel Krok, 
one of the most highly-respected of the citizens, he 
tore his gray beard, and scattered the hairs over the 

Eeturning home, he sent for Streic, and threatened 
him with a fearful end if he did not resolve the next 
day to submit. Streic wisely determined not to await 
the decisive day, but fled in the middle of the night. 
He was compelled to leave his wife, his children, and 
his aged mother behind him. The count revenged 
himself by ordering his property to be confiscated and 
his wife imprisoned. 

How many of the citizens at last gave way we are 
not informed ; but those who did were compelled to 
sign a paper declaring they had recanted and joined the 
Church of Rome of their own free will, and that they 
thanked the blessed Virgin and Count Zdenko for the 
salvation of their souls ! 

Zdenko was eventually recalled to Vienna, where his 
zeal for the Eomish Church did not save him from 
being arrested and imprisoned for some political offence. 
Of his further history we know nothing. 

In another town, a father, who was secretly carrying 
his new-born daughter to be baptized by an Evangelical 
pastor, was seized and tlirown into prison. The poor 
young mother was dragged from her sick chamber to 
share the same fate ; and eventually both were exiled, 
and two-thirds of their property confiscated. 

In the same town the citizens were driven with 
threats, or won by deceit, into joining a procession of 
the Host. John Bleyssa, one of the citizens, firmly 
refused ; and on being asked the reason, replied, " When- 


ever I have received the holy communion, I have 
inwardly resolved before God to keep away from this 
blasphemous ceremony." 

'* But you will not, surely, oppose the will of the 
emperor ? " rejoined the questioner. '* Never, in what 
concerns the things that are the emperor's," he replied. 
" But here it is the things that are God's that are in 

" There may be means found to force you," said the 

" God," answered Bleyssa, " requires a free-will service, 
not a service of compulsion." 

Bleyssa, for these bold words, had to endure a nine 
weeks' imprisonment. 

His fellow-citizen, John Jahoda, was punished for a 
similar refusal by an imprisonment, followed by a 
command to pay a sum of money towards the expenses 
of a fresh procession and high mass. " I will not 
contribute to any such ceremony," he said, as he came 
forward with the money ; " for I know of no sacrifice 
but that of the Lamb slain for the sins of the world, 
and lifted up on the cross for us. But I pay the money 
to show my obedience to the powers that be, who may 
spend it afterwards as they think best." 

For this speech he was again imprisoned for a month; 
and after a second fine had been extorted from him, he 
was driven from the city with his wife. He died soon 
after of the plague in Prague, full of faith and peace. 

The fate of these confessors was more tolerable than 
that of many of their countrymen. Numbers of re- 
cusants were shut up in noisome dungeons, so close that 
they could hardly find- room to stand ; and there they 
remained, stifled with the poisoned atmosphere and 



filth, till many died, and others were induced to make 
some show of submission. Many were kept in towers, 
cellars, or stables, exposed to bitter cold, hunger, and 

At Prostau many hundreds were shut up in the stable 
of the castle, every window and aperture being closed. 
Many fainted from want of air, among others the 
venerable father of Matthias Ulicky (the pastor whose 
martyrdom has been already recounted), a patriarch 
of eighty. He was brought out apparently dead, 
with several others in the same condition. The brutal 
captain of the " Eeformation Commission " declared 
" they were only feigning, and must be brought to 
themselves," and ordered a quantity of cold water to 
be thrown over them. Some were restored to their 
senses by this rough means ; but the old man expired 
in the presence of his tormentors. They had done 
their v/orst for him ; and his happy spirit was released, 
to join his son in the rest prepared for those who 
"loved not their lives unto the death," but had 
witnessed a good confession. 

Others were inclosed in cages so narrow as to force 
them into a painfully cramped posture, which, at the 
end of two or three hours, became intolerable torture. 
The nerves were so affected by the strain on the 
muscles, that the sufferers became almost beside them- 
selves, and were driven in their distraction to say 
whatever their persecutors desired. Those wdiose faith 
was real and earnest afterwards went into exile. 

Many entreated on their knees that they might be 
put to death at once rather than be driven by such 
misery into violating their consciences ; but the reply 
given was, that the emperor desired not their blood, but 


the salvation of their souls. Their enemies did not 
wish that they should have the power of glorying in 

And this is the reason why, in the long and terrible 
persecution which followed the Battle of Weiss enberg, 
comparatively few martyrs can be counted. The 
will to die for Christ was not wanting; but, in the 
majority of cases, it was only for political crimes that 
death was actually inflicted, though the deaths in prison, 
or from the consequences of torture, must doubtless 
have been very numerous. The courage and resolution 
displayed was often quite worthy of the early days of 
Christian zeal and heroism. 

In Prachaticz the imperial army met with actual 
resistance from the citizens, and one thousand six 
hundred and sixty of them were slain. The streets 
were choked with corpses, which lay exposed, often 
stripped by the soldiers, and for some days none dared 
to bury them. 

At last, two pious sisters, Christina and Benigna 
Eumpal, buried with their own hands their brother, a 
citizen of Prague, and their husbands (all of whom had 
been slain in the encounter), in a grave they had them- 
selves made ; and by their words and example of faith 
and courage led others to follow their example. 

A noble lady, Katharina von Loss (she may possibly 
have been the widow of Otto von Loss, though we are 
not told so), displayed equal resolution. She would 
neither give up her faith nor leave her country. " I 
cannot go into exile," she said, " from want of means ; 
my conscience will not allow me to recant. I will do 
neither. If they try a third plan with me, they may 
condemn me if they will; I trust entirely in God." 

I 2 


Strange to say, she was left in peace. Two citizens of 
distinction maintained the same resolution, and after 
long imprisonment they were set free. 

Four artisans of Koffenburg were kept in prison and 
exposed to the extreme of cold, hunger, and thirst. At 
one time they were left utterly without food. A Jesuit 
visited and threatened them, but Sigmund, one of the 
artisans, replied, "We would bear all, hunger, the 
gallows, the scaffold, rather than sin against God. Do 
what you will," he added, as the Jesuit left liim, 
" only do it quickly ! " 

But this poor mercy was denied them. For a time 
they w^ere only supplied' with a small quantity of 
bread and water twice a-week. Afterwards they were 
separated and inclosed in different places, one of them 
actually in a chimney. After twenty-one weeks, in 
which every effort was made to force them to yield, 
they were at last dismissed with fines and a sentence 
of exile. One of them, worn out with hardship and 
suffering, died on his way. 

Another, a clerk, was confined in prison till his feet 
were covered with the most terrible sores, and rendered 
utterly useless ; but he w^as filled with such heavenly 
joy that he spent his whole time in singing psalms and 
hymns of praise. He died at the end of a year, full of 
joyful faith and trust ; and Huerda, with impotent rage, 
caused his corpse to be flung over the fortress walls, 
and buried in the moat by a shepherd. 

Such men might well be reckone4 among the noble 
army of martyrs. But, some years after, a humble 
confessor did actually suffer death by the executioner 
for preaching the gospel. 

In 1629 twenty-two peasants of Zlonic were accused of 


having relapsed into heresy after having conformed to 
the Eomish Church. They were led to prison singing 
hymns of triumph on Christ's resurrection. 

Their leader and pastor, George Balthasar, a man of 
lowly origin and without education, was questioned 
as to his conduct. He dictated in prison his answer 
to a secretary, who was employed to write his defence, 
for it seems doubtful whether he could use a pen 

" I have been accused," he said, " of having broken 
my promise of conforming to Eome, and turning back to 
the Evangelical faith. My answer is, that I was driven 
by sufferings during a severe imprisonment to sin against 
God, my just Judge ; for I had then so weak a faith that 
I did not believe God could save His own from the hand 
of man. But I was chastened by Him for my sin, and 
for a whole year could find no hope in His mercy. At 
last I remembered the sinners of old time who had 
repented and found mercy; and I cried to the Lord night 
and day, and watered my couch with my tears. But 
our merciful God showed me His loving-kindness, for He 
wills not the death of a sinner, but that he should be 
converted and live. I received what I had prayed for ; 
God sent me His angel, and I saw His glory, brighter 
than the sun. I was filled at that moment with the 
Holy Spirit, and I was born again." 

He goes on to say that he felt himself called on to 
speak to others of the truths he had learned. His 
views seem in some points to have been somewhat 
fanatical and exaggerated ; but that he was an earnest 
and devoted preacher of the gospel there could be no 
doubt. He had been preaching for four years, in spite 
of every effort being made to hinder him; "but the 


greater the hindrances," he adds, ^*the more did God 
strengthen me by His Spirit." 

" I came to Zlonic," he continues, with characteristic 
naiveU, " to declare the truth to the people, and call 
them to repentance, as the Lord had bidden me ; and so 
I did for three days, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 
The last day of the three I had a book with me, . . . And 
it was the will of the Lord they should hear me, for they 
could not snatch the book out of my hand, though they 
refused to give God the glory, for I was called to warn 
them all and exhort them to repentance. . . . ISTothing 
can frighten me ; and I have no anxiety, except to fulfil 
what has been laid on me, and that I will do without 
hesitation. ... I warn you," he concludes, "not to receive 
the grace of God in vain, for His rod is already 
prepared with which He will punish those who will not 
acknowledge His voice. I have more to say to you ; but 
as I cannot write myself, I must conclude, as I must 
consider others. But if I can speak openly with you, 
I shall be able to explain more fully. Meanwhile, the 
grace of thvC Lord be with us all. Amen." 

The parish priest and several Jesuits came to him 
after reading this letter, and questioned him further. 
He owned he was only a layman, and unlearned ; but 
he preached, not of himself, but led by the Holy Spirit. 
" For," he said, " as I already wrote, I passed a whole 
year in weeping over my fall ; and then the Lord Jesus 
had compassion on me, and showed me His wounds, 
which healed the wounds of my conscience. He gave 
me the light of His Spirit, and commissioned me to 
speak to others ; and what I have done for four years, 
that I will continue to do as long as I live. I am ready 
to die for the sake of my Lord Jesus." 


In these words he continued to answer his perse- 
cutors. They could only silence him in one way ; and 
he was condemned to death. He was brought to Prague, 
and beheaded before sunrise, to avoid a concourse of 
people ; his body being, as usual, dismembered, and 
exposed after death as that of a criminal. 

It is remarkable that before his death he spoke in a 
kind of spirit of unconscious prophecy. He declared 
that the persecutors of God's people would suffer from 
judgments even in this world, and that the scattered 
flock of Christ would be again assembled together. The 
persecuted Bohemians recorded instances in which the 
first part of this prophecy was verified in the remarkable 
judgments which came on several of the leading per- 
secutors. They also related extraordinary signs, appear- 
ances in the heavens, etc., which were said to take place 
at the time of these great troubles in Bohemia. It 
would hardly be surprising if the overwrought feelings 
of the sufferers had led them to see omens and portents 
in simple natural phenomena. A remarkable burst of 
thunder-claps certainly appears to have taken place on 
the day when the martyrs of Prague were executed, and 
an extraordinary hailstorm on the day of a solemn pro- 
cession of the Corpus Christi at Kuntenberg, some little 
time later. There were strange stories of fountains of 
blood, and other wonders, probably originating in the 
excited imagination of the relaters. Several apostates 
were said to have been attacked with furious mania, and 
others with fits of the nature of epilepsy ; and other 
similar cases are recorded. 

It was indeed a day of darkness for Bohemia. The 
rage of the persecutors was not only spent upon men, 
but even on the veiy monuments of the dead. Graves 


were desecrated, bones flung out, monuments in the 
churches defaced or destroyed. The number of Bibles 
and Protestant books committed to the flames, or other- 
wise destroyed, must have been very great. And 
thus to human eye the Eeformation in Bohemia was 
effectually and finally crushed. 

Yet, continues the chronicler, great as the victory of 
Antichrist appeared, the Church has never been wholly 
without pious teachers, who openly and secretly, by 
preaching and writing, strengthened their hearers against 
future persecution. But it was God's will that, in the 
general destruction, those who seemed the pillars of 
the Church should be overthrown. The greater part of 
the nobility and a considerable number of ministers 
were scattered and dispersed; and therefore the enemies 
who had plundered the Lord's heritage rejoiced and 

But the wrath of man may be made the means of 
purifying the Church. There was a great sifting among 
those who professed to belong to Christ, and many were 
separated who had been united by blood or marriage 
in the closest ties. Many husbands went into exile 
whose wives refused to follow them ; and many wives 
for the love of Christ have been compelled to leave 
their husbands. The persecution was the test which 
showed what the reality of their faith was. The num- 
ber of those who preferred banishment to apostasy was 
Very great. In 1630 it was computed that one hundred 
and eighty-five families of distinction in Bohemia alone, 
all belonging to the highest classes, had already gone into 
exile, many of these families numbering from twenty 
to fifty men ; and this did not include the nobility of 
Moravia, nor the emigTations subsequent to 1630. Above 


two hundred ministers of the United Brethren were at 
that time known to have emigrated ; and great multi- 
tudes of commoners, both from the cities and the 
country, had even within these first ten years gone into 
exile. The greater number settled in Saxony ; some 
in Bayreuth, Brandenburg, and even in Holland. Many 
found a refuge and protection in Poland, Hungary, and 
Silesia, in spite of the imperial manda e. 

Besides the exiles, there were many in Bohemia and 
Moravia compelled to remain in their country, and who, 
like the seven thousand of old, would not bow the knee 
to Baal. Some who were vassals of merciful nobles 
were protected from severe persecution by their lords, 
and remained steadfast in the faith. Many, too, are 
mentioned as being known to the chronicler among 
those who had been terrified or entrapped into a re- 
cantation, who afterwards wept over their fall like Peter, 
and proved, by the letters they addressed to their exiled 
ministers, that their repentance was sincere. Some of 
these were able to reunite themselves to the Evangelical 
Church, while others awaited, with longing desire, the 
opportunity to do the same. 

" Thou, our God," concludes the chronicler, " look on 
our misery. We have been brought very low, and are 
counted as sheep for the slaughter. . . . Comfort us 
again after the time Thou hast plagued us, and for th(3 
years wherein we have suffered adversity. Show Thy 
servants Thy work, and their children Thy glory. Amen. 



So ends the Chronicle. But the feelings of lively 
sympathy, reverence, and admiration for the martyr 
Church of Bohemia with which we close the record are 
accompanied by a sense of painfully unsatisfied longing 
to hear the sequel of the history. We have read of 
those who died for the faith, and those who emigrated ; 
but what of the multitudes who were compelled by 
their circumstances or the watchfulness of the govern- 
ment to remain ? How was it with them ? Did they 
patiently submit to renounce their faith ? or did they 
keep it in secret ? Were there any who, like the 
" Pitmen " of a century earlier, or the Huguenots of the 
desert, and the Waldenses of the Alps, met in caves 
and mountain recesses and forests, to hear and read 
the Word of God ? 

The answer to all this — as far as direct information goes 
— is, at first, apparently, a dead silence. But we have the 
strongest and most irrefragable evidence that the cause 
of this silence was not that there was nothing to tell. 
The Emperor of Austria and his satellites fiattered 
themselves that the outcry against Eomish super- 
stitions, which Bohemia had never ceased to utter since 
the days of Popish usurpation, had been effectually 
quenched in torrents of blood ; but he was mistaken. 
He had sacrificed the best and noblest men in the 
country ; he had destroyed its prosperity, and changed 


smiling, flourishing lands into a desert ; he had reduced 
its population to little more than a fourth of what it 
had been ; ^ but he had not succeeded in extirpating, as 
he believed, every trace of heresy from Bohemia.^ 

It is true that, during the second half of the seven- 
teenth century, Bohemia appeared to be, spiritually, a 
desert. An impenetrable cloud of darkness hung over 
the land. Still there were, in the midst of this dark- 
ness, a faithful remnant of hidden ones. It is very 
little we can gather respecting them. They had no 
men like the French Protestants, Antoine Court and his 
companions, to act as their mouthpieces and draw up 
chronicles of their history. They had no place of 
refuge, as the Huguenots had, where their language was 
spoken, their teachers could be trained, and their records 
preserved. Their German neighbours in Saxony and 
Brandenburg could not help them, as French Switzer- 
land could help the French Protestants, for they spoke 
a different language. 

But a few scattered incidents have been gathered 
here and there, which shov/ us that life was still con- 
cealed under the heap of social ruins.^ 

In one village, where a priest and a Eomish service 
had been established in the formerly Evangelical church, 
the mass was actually celebrated for a whole century in 
a completely empty church — the priest and his sacristan 
were literally alone. 

1 From 3,000,000 to about 800,000. 
* See Appendix, Note C. 

2 For what follows I am chiefly indebted to the substance of a lecture 
by M. Reichel, the editor of the Moravian publications in French 
Switzerland. Bost's History of the Moravians, published by the 
Religious Tract Society, may be advantageously consulted by those 
who wish for further information. 


In a parish near the Hungarian frontier, some of the 
peasants were in the habit of going over into Hungary 
every Saturday to fetch hay in their carts. The pastor 
who was to preach to them on the Sunday was concealed 
in the hay, and thus brought into the village secretly 
week by week. In another village, a woodman, in his 
coarse working-dress, with hatchet on his shoulder, 
might be seen every Sunday passing through the woods, 
directing his steps to some isolated dwelling. This was 
another faithful Hungarian pastor, who went weekly, at 
the risk of his life, to hold a service and preach the 
gospel on Bohemian soil. 

The Bohemians had, indeed, their meetings in the 
desert, like the Huguenots ; and many retired forests and 
mountain gorges and caverns echoed the praises of the 
Lord, even in these darkest times of oppression. Others, 
less courageous, conformed outwardly to the Eomish 
faith, but read the Bible assiduously in secret, conceal- 
ing the precious book in a cellar, a hole in the wall, 
or in a hollow log of wood. Often a father would 
venture to confide the secret to his children only on 
his death-bed. 

Many held private meetings by night in their own 
houses. Even among those who had been less tenacious 
in maintaining their faith, the old habits remained so 
rooted that the priests were obliged to have recourse to 
stratagem to reconcile them to the new order of things. 
One priest found the people so attached to the reception 
of the cup at the communion that he did not venture to 
discontinue it at once, but began by giving it in the 
vestry, then administered it after the service was over, 
and at last substituted a pot for the chalice ! 

The attachment to the memory and to the traditional 


portrait of John Huss was so great that it was found 
expedient to carve the statue of St. John Nepomuk 
with features resembhng those of the Bohemian 
reformer, so as to lead the ignorant insensibly to 
transfer their allegiance from him to the Eomish saint. 

But, though the memory of the past was still dear 
to the Bohemians, the remains of spiritual life were 
gradually beginning to die away in the country. The 
members of several families, especially those of Zeis- 
berger, Schneider, Jaeschke, and !N"itschmann, had done 
much to keep alive the faint spark that remained ; but 
after the death of these pious men the outward con- 
formity to Kome became more and more general, and it 
seemed as if all traces of the ancient and pure Bohe- 
mian Church were likely soon to be entirely extinct. 

But it was in the midst of this thick darkness that 
the light was again to spring up. The Old Brethren's 
Church was to revive again ; and, strange to say, it was 
to be from that poor, hidden remnant of weak and 
crushed ones who had been apparently cowed into sub- 
mission to the dominant Church that the new life 
was to begin. God had indeed chosen the weak, and 
despised, and helpless, and it might almost be said, in 
the emphatic language of the apostles — " those who 
were not " — to be the germ of a revived Church, which 
was to be His instrument in carrying the gospel to the 
very ends of the earth. 

It was in the year 1715 that an awakening began to 
manifest itself among the scattered remnant in Moravia. 
Several persons, descendants of the Brethren's Church, 
in the neighbourhood of Fulneck, Litiz, and other places 
near, became so anxious for spiritual teaching as to go 
from time to time to Teschen, fourteen leagues off, to 


hear the Lutheran preachers there. A pious carpenter, 
named Christian David, who had been brought up a 
lioman Catholic, but had been convinced of the errors 
of the Eomish Church, was moved to devote himself to 
the work of an evangelist, and frequently visited these 
anxious inquirers. The result was a decided religious 
revival among them, and they felt, as they became more 
enlightened and earnest, a strong desire to go to some 
country where they could worsliip God according to 
their conscience. 

Christian David, who knew all their difficulties, was 
acquainted with a pious young " candidate " for the 
sacred ministry, John Andrew Eoth, and through him 
was introduced to the individual whom God had chosen 
to be the protector and leader of the little scattered and 
oppressed flock — Louis, Count Zinzendorf. 

This nobleman, who had from early life dedicated 
himself and all that he had to the Saviour to whom he 
had given his heart, was deeply moved by Christian 
David's eloquent and lively description of the neglected 
and crushed state of his fellow-converts in Moravia. 
He offered them a temporary asylum on his own estate 
of Berthelsdorf in Lusatia, near the frontier. The offer 
was joyfully accepted by two brothers, Augustine and 
Jacob Neissen, who, with their wives and children, and 
their cousin Michael Jaeschke, set out at the end of 
May, 1722, guided by their friend David. They reached 
their destination in June; and the count's steward 
assigned them a settlement in a wild forest district at 
the foot of a hill called " Hutberg." 

On the 17th of June they entered on the w^ork of 
clearing the forest ; and Christian David, as he thrust 
his hatchet into the trunk of a pine, exclaimed, " Here 


the sparrow has found her a house, and the swallow a 
nest — Thme altars, Lord of Hosts ! " (Ps. Ixxxiv. 3.) 

This was the small beginning of the colony which 
gradually extended, and received the name of Hermhid, 
or " the Lord's protection." In the course of ten years 
the little band of immigrants had increased to six hun- 
dred souls. The count, with the help of Eoth, now the 
pastor of the flock, was indefatigable in his endeavours 
to minister to the wants of their souls as well as bodies. 
They attended the meetings which were held at the 
Castle of Berthelsdorf. 

The congregation increased so much that it was 
necessary to build a church at Herrnhut. On the 
12th of May, 1724, the count and a little band of 
friends like-minded with himself assembled to lay the 
first stone of the edifice. At the moment they were so 
engaged, a party of five young Moravian emigrants, on 
their way to join some of their brethren in Poland, 
came up. Struck by the sight of what was passing^ 
they stayed to witness the ceremony, and were so 
impressed that they determined to give up their in- 
tention of going on to Poland, and to remain. The 
principal of these young men was David Nitschmann, 
also a carpenter, 'and destined to be one of the "pillars" 
of the new spiritual edifice. He and his comrades had 
•come of families who had remained faithfully attached 
to the old Bohemian Church, and possessed some 
notions of its discipline and polity. They spoke about 
it to their new friends, and expressed a wish to establish 
something of the same kind among themselves. A little 
later Zinzendorf met with the work of the old chronicler. 
Bishop Amos Commenius, on the constitution of this 
ancient Church, and was so struck with what he read 


that he resolved to re-establish it. He showed the new 
colonists a translation of the work, and on reading it 
they agreed to his plan. The discipline and government 
of the old Brethren's Church were thus restored, and in 
1734 the first bishop was consecrated by Jablonsky, 
grandson of Comnienius and bishop of the Brethren in 
Poland. The first bishop of the new Church was David 
Nitschmann, the leader of the little company of five 
who had come to the laying of the church's foundation- 
stone, and who had already shown his fitness for the 
office by his zeal, devotedness, and success as a missionary 
among the heathen slaves in the West Indies. And so 
the ruined and scattered Church of old Bohemia was 
again called into life and rebuilt on a firm foundation. 

One manifestation of their revived life was exhibited 
in their missionary zeal. Having acquired a quiet home, 
a settled organization, and a recognised ministry, they 
were solicitous to extend to others the privileges they 
enjoyed. Their chief ambition was to carry the message 
of salvation by Christ Jesus to heathen lands. 

What glorious triumphs the Moravian or United 
Brethren's Church has achieved for the gospel, in 
places where at that time little or nothing had been 
done to make it known, is familiar to us all. We all 
know how, on the burning plains of Africa and the 
frozen coasts of Labrador and Grreenland, among the 
Indians and negroes of South Carolina, in the West 
Indies, and in many other lands, the descendants of the 
Bohemian Brethren have been and are still faithfully 
making known the gospel message, with evidences of 
blessing everywhere ; and many are also aware that 
this Church has been and continues to be the centre 
of much spiritual life in many parts of Central Europe. 


But our object is rather to dwell on the influence it has 
exerted in Bohemia. To that country Herrnhut and its 
kindred settlements were as cities of refuge through a 
great part of the eighteenth century ; and during that 
time a quiet and comparatively unnoticed emigration 
went on from time to time from Bohemia — among those 
who still kept the faith in secret, and felt their enforced 
conformity to the Church of Eome to be intolerable — 
when once a way of escape was pointed out. 

But this exodus was very slow and frequently 
interrupted, and attended with much peril and anxiety. 
Little groups of twos and threes moved away quietly 
and silently, and with much care to avoid suspicion. 
Then a zealous evangelist would return and bring 
away one and another of his friends and kinsfolk. 
Often arrest and years of imprisonment and suffering 
were the result of his efforts. 

The two histories that follow, the most detailed 
of those we have been able to find amon^- the re- 
cords of the Brethren's Church, will give some idea 
of the sufferings, struggles, and difficulties of these 

The History of John Gilek.— John Gilek was 
member of a family who inhabited the village of Luborg 
in Bohemia, in the beginning of the eighteenth century. 
The father of this family was often found by his children 
engaged in reading by stealth a large book, which he 
bathed with his tears. He dared not tell them what 
this book was, for fear of discovery ; but he strove to 
impress their young minds with the leading points of 
the Evangelical faith ; and fearing for them the contact 
with teachers of a corrupt religion, and other children 



brought up under its influence, he himself undertook 
their education. 

He did not, however, live to carry it on long ; he was 
removed by death while they were still young, and 
expired while gazing on the precious book, which he 
had had brought to his bedside. Doubtless he had 
committed his dear ones in faith to Him wdio " giveth 
the increase." 

Of the other children we hear nothing. John, the 
subject of our narrative, was eleven at the time of his 
father's death, and had been deeply impressed by his 
father's teaching. It does not appear whether his 
mother survived ; but the course of the history leads us 
to believe that our hero was an orphan. Certainly his 
home was completely broken up, and the poor boy left 
to make his w^ay almost alone in the world. He was 
first placed with a distant relation as a farm servant. 
Here he might have been easily corrupted by the bad 
example of his companions ; but these coarse and pro- 
fligate men disliked the innocent boy, and made him the 
object of their scofls and ill-treatment. Often the poor 
child bathed with tears the rude couch of hay where he 
passed his nights in the stable ; but he was safer there 
than in the company of his drunken and profane 
companions. He " bore the yoke in his youth," and 
was to find the happy result in after years. 

But the time of that blessing for his soul was not yet 
come. At the age of nineteen he became apprentice to 
a tailor ; his master was a light-minded, irreligious man, 
who soon led the youth into his own bad courses. But 
the germ of spiritual life was in his heart. He felt 
unhappy in his sinful life ; and, like the Prodigal Son, 
he desired to " arise and go to his Father." Of the true 


way to God tlirough Christ, however, he knew nothing, 
and his best resolutions were of no effect ; still, tlie 
Father was " drawing him." One day, taking up a book 
which described the sufferings and death of Jesus, he 
was so much moved by the account, and by a picture of 
the Saviour on the cross, that he could not restrain his 
tears. An inward voice seemed to say to him, " See 
what the Lord Jesus endured for you ; and you have 
neither loved nor thought of Him, but have grieved Him 
by your sins." This thought took possession of Gilek's 
soul ; he could not rest day nor night ; and in his trouble 
he consulted those whom he believed to be more en- 
lightened than himself He applied to a cousin, devoted 
to the Eomish ceremonial, who told him these thoughts 
were temptations of the devil, and advised him to 
accompany him on a pilgrimage into Moravia, where he 
would regain his tranquillity ! Gilek obeyed his blind 
guide, and performed the pilgrimage, scrupulously 
observing all the prescribed ceremonies, and even join- 
ing a " confraternity " at Brunn. But he returned from 
his journey more troubled than ever. 

A little time afterwards, while working at his trade, 
he happened to spend some days under the roof of a 
man whose mind had been enlightened, not only by the 
knowledge of gospel truth, but by the power of grace in 
his heart — one of the little flock of hidden ones who 
had never " bowed the knee to Baal." This good man 
watched his young inmate attentively, and soon per- 
ceived what was going on in his soul. He entered into 
conversation with Gilek, who soon opened his heart to 
his new friend. The aged mother of the master of the 
house took part in this conversation, and related with 
tears how after the Brethren had been persecuted and 

K 2 


driven into exile, she and her companions had met 
secretly in a private house to read and pray together ; 
how, when they had been discovered and been obliged 
to leave the house, they had met in the fields outside 
the village, till at last they had been prevented altogether 
from meeting, and their Bibles and religious books 
taken from them by the priests. This simple history 
recalled to our hero's mind the value his departed father 
had attached to his books, and the caution with which 
he used to read them. He began to long to possess 
these cherished volumes, and concluding that his 
mother's brother must have kept them, he wrote to him 
curtly, desiring they might be restored to him. The 
uncle, alarmed at this letter, thought it prudent to obey. 
" He has just made a pilgrimage," he thought ; " who 
knows what commands the priest may have laid on him 
about these books ? If I refuse, I may be denounced." 

The books were sent, and Gilek began eagerly to 
peruse them. The Bible was not among them ; pro- 
bably it had been seized and burnt long before ; but the 
study of the works which remained to him convinced 
the young man that his pilgrimage and the ceremonies 
he had observed since his return were useless. He tore 
up his pictures of the saints, burned the hymns he had 
sung in procession, and destroyed his diploma of 
membership of the sacred confraternity. 

Light was beginning to dawn in his mind ; but the 
Bible alone can be the true "lamp to our feet," and 
Gilek had never even seen one. How was he to pro- 
cure a copy ? But few of those in Bohemia had escaped 
the flames, and those few were jealously guarded and 
concealed by their possessors. 

Still Gilek continued to advance in knowledge of the 


truth; and those who felt with him were not slow in 
perceiving this, and were ready to assist him with their 
affectionate Christian counsels. Some of these brethren 
at last lent him a Bible and a hymn-book for a few 

The young inquirer leaped with joy at the sight, 
copied about thirty hymns, and, shutting himself into 
his closet, spent long nights in studying that Word for 
which his soul was thirsting. But this study at first 
only showed him his sinfulness and lost state by nature. 
His heart, broken and contrite as it now was, had not 
been able to lay hold of and appropriate the grace so 
freely offered in Jesus to the sinner. He sought for 
peace, and in the hope that he might find it among true 
Christians, he began to wonder whether there were not 
in some part of the world men w^ho lived according 
to Bible precepts. If he could but find them, he would 
leave all to live with them, thoucjh it were on bread and 
water 1 His friends were able to satisfy his inquiries ; 
they told him that he would find such persons as he 
sought at Gerlachsheim, in Saxony ; that a little while 
before a family from their village had emigrated thither, 
and they were expecting a visit from one of the brethren 
residing there. Gilek's resolution was taken ; he would 
follow this brother on his return. 

But he must first await his arrival ; and the waiting 
time was long and most distressing. His Eomanist 
neighbours had perceived the change which had taken 
place in him, and watched him narrowly. Accusations 
of heresy and threats of imprisonment were already 
beginning to be directed against him, when his intended 
guide arrived. Not a moment was to be lost. On the 
8th of September, 1731, at nightfall; he left his native 


village quietly, carrying nothing with him but a little 
bundle of clothing, and set ouL with his companion on 
the road which led to Upper Lusatia. On the fourth 
day they reached Gerlachsheim in safety. 

This place was one of the many in Saxony and Prussia 
which had offered asylums for the Bohemian immi- 
grants for conscience' sake. A considerable number had 
already settled there, forming a Bohemian colony 
and a Protestant Church, under the direction of that 
excellent pastor Augustine Schulze. 

This good man was a faithful shepherd of his flock, 
and a powerful preacher of Christ crucified. He was 
not satisfied with a mere assent to the pure teaching of 
the gospel ; he constantly insisted on the necessity of 
renewal of heart. 

" I would not give a farthing for your Christianity," 
he would often say, " unless you are each individually 
united closely to the Lord Jesus." 

His own simplicity and humility would have made 
him accept the rebuke even of a child with gratitude ; 
and he constantly encouraged the brethren and sisters 
of his flock to tell him freely anything of which they 
disapproved in him, that he might change it. 

A congregation, whose members after having preferred 
the reproach of Christ to all worldly advantages, and 
l)ecome voluntary exiles for His sake, were directed 
and instructed in the way of salvation by so faithful 
and so firm a hand as that of their pastor, could scarcely 
fail to form a Church full of life and energy. Their 
fellow-countrymen who came to seek the way to pardon 
and peace among them met with a cordial reception ; 
and the pastor's preaching and the example of the flock 
bore witness to the free grace of Christ which could 


not leave the humble, earnest inquirer long in doubt. 
Gilek was enabled to lay hold of Christ as his Saviour, 
to receive the pardon and peace which flow from His 
precious sacrifice, and could soon join with a glad heart 
in the hymns of praise which continually resounded 
among tlie happy Christian band at Gerlachsheim. 

But Gilek was not one to rest idly in the enjoyment 
of his privileges. A truly converted man, like Andrew 
of old, must be eager to find his brother, and tell him 
that he has found the Messiah ; and in this spirit Gilek 
felt he could not rest till he had announced the good 
tidings to his brethren in the flesh, his beloved country- 
men in Bohemia. He resolved to make a journey into 
his native land — at the risk, he well knew, of his life and 
liberty, for those who attempted to induce professing 
Eomanists to quit their Church and country were liable 
to the severest penalties ; but he went boldly, counting 
the cost. His journey, through God's mercy, was per- 
formed in safety, and his mission greatly blessed. 
Several of his friends and relations declared themselves 
ready to leave all to go to Gerlachsheim. A band of 
twenty emigrants was collected, divided, for safety's 
sake, into two separate companies. One of tliese was 
to set out with Gilek, the other to await his return. 
The little party travelled by night, through unfrequented 
paths, hiding by day, in the most secret recesses of the 
forest and mountains. They would not light a fire to 
cook themselves food, for fear it should betray them, 
and could only satisfy their hunger when they happened 
to pass the abode of some brother in the faith. 

The poor fugitives at last reached their destination in 
safety ; but others remained in Bohemia who were 
anxious to follow ; and the indefatigable Gilek set out 


again on his perilous mission. He was accompanied 
this time by two friends from Gerlachsheim, and a man 
from Hennersdoff, who was unknown to him. To please 
this last, he consented to alter his line of route a little. 
This, as it turned out, fatal complaisance led them into 
the neighbourhood of the town of Leutomischl. Here 
they lay down to rest in a field of new-mown hay, and, 
exhausted with fatigue, fell asleep. But Gilek's rest 
was disturbed by a strange dream. He thought he 
saw the sexton and the Jesuit priest of Leutomischl 
arriving together to arrest and lead him to prison ; 
and at the same moment he felt some one shake 
him violently. He awoke with a start, looked round, 
and saw no one ; but a voice within seemed to say, 
"Depart immediately; make your escape without loss 
of time ! " 

He aroused his comrade, and related his dream. The 
other, wearied and impatient, declared he did not believe 
in dreams, and must sleep. Gilek was unfortunately 
persuaded to resist the inward intimation, and, though 
trembling in every limb, lay down again to rest. But, 
just as he was falling asleep, he was roused by the 
arrival of strangers ; they were the very persons of 
whom he had dreamed, the Jesuit and the sexton, who 
had discovered and come to arrest him ; and the two 
travellers were made prisoners. 

It was a moment of bitter anguish to Gilek. He felt 
that he had disregarded a warning which had been 
graciously vouchsafed him, and he reproached himself 
bitterly. And now what sufferings of body and soul 
lay before him ! All were presented to his mind at this 
moment ; and in his agony he asked of himself if he 
should indeed remain faithful to the truth he had 


received and the Saviour he had embraced, or be 
conquered by fear, and perhaps tortures ? 

But the Lord did not abandon His attlicted servant : 
these terrible questions were answered by a deep and 
realizing sense of the value of the gospel of the free 
grace of God, and a firm assurance that he would be 
enabled to suffer anything and everything, rather than 
deny his Saviour. 

On the 30th of May, at ten o'clock in the morning, 
the two fugitives, bound and escorted by a strong guard 
of peasants, were led into the fortress of Leutomischl. 
It was no new sight to the inhabitants of the little 
town ; nor did the gloomy prison chambers receive 
such inmates for the first time. The emigrations for 
conscience' sake were becoming frequent, and the clergy, 
supported as usual by the secular arm, were constantly 
on the watch for families suspected of heresy. 

When Gilek first found himself alone in his dungeon, 
loaded with chains, and his feet in the stocks, he was 
overwhelmed with the deepest depression. The courage 
which he had felt on his way to the prison had for the 
moment failed at the certain prospect of a long captivity, 
and the probability of a terrible death. The flesh might 
well quail, for two days and two nights had passed 
without any food or drink having been brought to him ; 
and it seemed as if his captors intended to starve him 
to death. The third day he was reduced to a state of 
extreme weakness ; but his soul was again strengthened. 
He had cried to the Lord, and implored His pardon for 
all his sins ; and He who has said, '' Call on Me in the 
time of trouble, and I will deliver thee," enabled His 
suffering child to cast himself in full trust upon his 
heavenly Father. 


But Ms enemies had no intention that he should 
die of famine. The prolonged fast was intended as a 
trial of his courage and resolution ; and it was at last 
broken by an additional refinement of cruelty. The 
jailer entered the prison, and mockingly asking if his 
captive felt any appetite, he offered him a large piece of 
bread hot from the oven. The poor prisoner, exhausted 
with hunger, eagerly devoured the food ; and the result 
of the unwholesome diet after so loner a fast was agoni- 
zing pain and distress. The next day he was so reduced 
and prostrated, as to give the persecutors some hope that 
the weakened frame would react on the mind ; and the 
exhausted sufferer was dragged before the tribunal to 
undergo his first interrogatory. But he had help of 
which his torturers knew nothing. He who has said, 
" My strength is made perfect in weakness," was with 
him in the judgment -hall, and sustained him during the 
trying scene. Gilek answered all the questions put to him 
with firmness, declaring his faith in the Apostles' Creed, 
at the same time protesting against all the errors into 
the acceptance of which they tried to entrap him. 
After a tempest of insults and imprecations, he was 
taken back to his prison. But he was subjected to a 
fresh interrogatory the same evening. His judges had 
sent for two witnesses from his native villasre, who 
not only stated that he had conducted a number of 
persons out of the country, but also brought against 
him a number of false accusations. In vain Gilek pro- 
tested his innocence ; he was loaded with abuse, and at 
last, worn out in mind and body, he sunk down in a 
swoon. As soon as he had been restored by cordials, 
the judge furiously commanded him to tell the whole 
truth. The answers did not satisfy him, and the 


prisoner was sentenced to receive fifty lashes. These 
were inflicted immediately by a soldier. 

The next day Gilek was brought to the town-hall, 
and questioned by the council. They asked him if he 
had any cause of complaint against the government, 
and what were the motives which induced him to 

Gilek replied that he had no cause of complaint against 
the count his lord, or against the emperor. He would 
willingly remain their subject, if he could only be 
free to live according to his faith and conscience. 

They then took pains to prove to him that his faith 
was erroneous ; but, as may be supposed, these efforts 
produced no effect. 

Then they questioned him about a letter they had 
intercepted, which he had written to an old companion, 
in which he had expressed a wish that his correspondent 
might experience the same peace of mind that he himself 
enjoj^ed. He was compelled to read this letter aloud, and 
asked if these were still his views. They were, he 
replied, and he hoped to remain ever faithful to his 

" A fine preacher," they cried, scoffing, " who does not 
even know how to write a letter correctly ! " And then 
followed a storm of insults. But in the midst of all 
this the prisoner's eye caught that of three out of 
his twelve judges, who, instead of joining the others, 
were gazing at him with looks of compassion, which 
seemed to show that they secretly felt with him. 

A few days after a fresh occurrence rendered Gilek's 
position still more distressing. His two companions 
from Gerlachsheim, who, it may be remembered, had set 
out separately from him, for greater security, were 


surprised in the act of escorting some emigrants, and were 
imprisoned in the same fortress. Gilek was reproached 
with not having denounced them, and was on the point 
of being condemned to a hundred blows with a stick ; 
but the Jesuit priest, who was present, objected that the 
prisoner was too weak to bear them, and he was led 
back to his prison without further molestation. 

Again he was brought to the town-hall, and for half 
a day every effort was used to bring him to recant ; but 
neither arguments nor threats had any effect on him. 
He continued calmly to repeat that he would never hear 
of any means of salvation except through the merits of 

But about this time an event occurred which gave 
Gilek some respite. A number of persons, suspected of 
heresy and intention to emigrate, were arrested and 
imprisoned. This drew the attention of the judges from 
Gilek, and for some time he was left in peace. Ho 
profited by this period of tranquillity, and spent it in 
serious reflections, examining his past conduct, and 
opening his whole heart to his Saviour ; and the pro- 
mised support was abundantly granted. He often en- 
joyed so sweet a sense of the presence of his invisible 
Friend, that his heart overflowed with joy, and, like 
Paul and Silas at Philippi, he made his prison resound 
with songs of praise and thanksgiving. 

But this " time of refreshing " was only the prelude to 
a period of fiery trial. His tranquillity was first broken 
by heavy tidings. The news was brought to him that 
the Elector of Saxony was about to send back all the 
Bohemian fugitives. The intelligence was false ; but he 
believed it, and was so overwhelmed with grief that for 
three days he wept incessantly, and was unable to rest. 


Then came another messenger of evil tidings. His 
friend Ostry was also his fellow-prisoner, though in a 
separate cell ; and Gilek knew that he was daily visited 
by two priests, who held discussions with him for hours, 
without beins^ able to shake or discomfit him. But at 
last one of these priests, perhaps with the hope of 
moving Gilek, announced to him that Ostry had been 
reconciled to the Church of Eome, and he had better 
follow his example. Gilek, who loved his friend heartily, 
and believed him firmer in the faith than himself, was 
overwhelmed with grief and dismay. The story in fact 
was false, for the priests, despairing of producing any 
effect on Ostry, had sent him back to the lord of his 
native place. But Gilek believed what he had heard ; 
yet in the midst of his deep grief he was enabled to look 
upwards for help, and to promise the Lord to be faithful 
to the end ; and he felt himself consoled and strength- 
ened from above. 

He needed such support, for his trials on all sides 
increased. He had been seven months in prison, and 
the severe Bohemian winter was setting in, and w^as 
bitterly felt in the chill dungeon where he lay ; his 
clothes were falling into rags, and could hardly protect 
him against the cold ; the bread and water which formed 
his sole subsistence were often frozen hard ; his suffer- 
ings were intense ; but as long as he rested solely on 
the Saviour, the power and support given him from 
above prevented his courage from failing. But one 
day he ventured to trust in his own strength. Having 
been taunted wdth the impossibility of long enduring 
such a condition, he answered rashly that he would 
rather die of cold than be overcome. The declaration 
savoured of presumption, and he was permitted for a 


time to sink into deep despondency. He prayed 
earnestly, and confessed his sins to the Saviour ; but he 
still felt forsaken, and the anguish of his soul was inex- 
pressible. His nights were passed in weeping; twice 
he took no food for three days; he suffered from inflamed 
eyes, and the cold seemed to pierce him through and 
through. In the midst of all this mental and physical 
distress, thoughts of self-destruction were suggested to 
his mind by the tempter — ever ready to take advantage 
of human weakness. But the Lord was sustaining him, 
even while he felt not His presence. A voice within 
seemed to say, " Do thyself no harm. I have patience 
with thee, only trust Me." And then once more he 
could freely pour out his heart to his Saviour, and 
experience consolation from above. Light and peace 
were restored to his soul, and even his physical state 
was relieved; he could breathe more freely, and was 
again able to sleep. 

After Christmas he was moved to a large room which 
was occasionally warmed. This change appeared at first 
a great relief; but he soon regretted his solitary cell, for 
felons were placed with him as his companions, whose 
profanities and blasphemies distressed his mind more 
than the cold had done his body. 

He was on one occasion in great danger ; some soup 
was brought him, the odour of which was so disgusting 
as to cause violent sickness. He was unable to touch 
it, and suspected they had intended to poison him. 

Spring came at last, but no liberty for the poor 
captive. The summer passed, still no change. 

In the beginning of the autumn he was removed to a 
dark, damp, and unwholesome cell, so small that he 
could not stand upright, and was obliged to remain 


sitting or lying on his pallet of rotten straw, which was 
infested with frogs, rats, and other vermin. He was 
crippled with rheumatism, and shaken with violent fever 
and ague ; again his soul was overpowered with anguish, 
and he cried mightily to the Saviour ; he had lost all 
confidence in his own strength, and could only exclaim, 
" Lord, Thou knowest I am lost if Thou dost not come 
to my help ! " The cry was heard. After a sharp conflict 
of soul he fell into a peaceful sleep ; and on awaking he 
found himself not only free from fever and restored to 
the use of his limbs but reliered from all mental distress. 
His heart was filled with peace and joy, and he was 
again able to raise his voice in joyful hymns of praise. 

The needed help had come in time to strengthen him 
for fresh outward trial. His tormentors appeared to 
recollect the victim they had nearly forgotten. The 
Jesuit priest returned to the charge ; the Bishop of 
Choast summoned Gilek before him ; he was again 
brought before the tribunal, and first brilliant promises, 
and then threats and violence, were employed, in the 
hope of shaking his firmness. 

One night one of his judges entered his cell. " Gilek," 
he said, " to what Confession do you belong ? " 

"To the Evangelical Confession, sir," replied the 

The reply was a blow of the fist on his head, so 
violent as to fell him to the ground, where he lay 
stunned for some time. Some blows of a stick at last 
roused him, and he heard the judge ask him if he 
would become a Catholic. 

" I will not deny my Saviour," was his only answer. 

The judge ordered that thirty blows with a rod should 
be inflicted on the spot. The gaoler was about to 


execute tlie order, when the weakness of the prisoner 
moved even his hard heart. He remarked to the judge 
that Gilek could not stand upright. 

" Well, then, let him lie down to receive them," 
said the judge. 

Gilek prepared to comply ; but while doing so he 
secretly prayed to the Lord. He felt utterly unnerved by 
the sufferings he had just undergone, and in childlike 
confidence he told this to the Lord. " Thou seest, my 
Saviour," he said, " I cannot bear these blows ; I shall 
sink under them." At that moment the judge ordered 
the sentence to be remitted till the next day. The 
prayer had been heard "while he was yet speaking." 
For seven consecutive nights the implacable judge came 
to renew his threats, and each time went away baffled 
by the imperturbable calmness and resolution of the 
prisoner. A strength not his own had been given him. 

One day, as he was returning from an examination 
in which the most frightful threats had been addressed 
to him, to break what they called his obstinacy, he 
was followed by one of the youngest councillors, 
who whispered to him, " Fear nothing ; you have 
done no harm ; they only want to frighten you." 
These words encouraged him greatly ; and the next 
time he was brought before the council he spoke 
freely of having left Bohemia in order to worship ac- 
cording to his conscience, and that he was determined 
to remain faithful to the Evangelical faith, according to 
the dictates of that conscience, whatever might be the 
consequences. A little time afterwards he was summoned 
to the presence of the governor of the fortress, a man of 
whose violence of temper he had often heard. He went in 
much anxiety, and praying the Lord to help him. The 


governor was in company Avitli a Jesuit, and both 
seemed resolved to make a great effort. 

"Are you Gilek of Luborg ? " the officer began. 
Gilek assented. 

" John Gilek," he resumed, after a pause, " would you 
persevere in holding your faith, even if perpetual 
imprisonment, the gibbet, or the stake, should be your 
punishment ? " 

The question was repeated three times, solennily 
and deliberately : and three times Gilek replied, with 
unshaken firmness, 

" Yes." 

Then the governor, turning to the Jesuit, said, *' I can 
do nothing more with this man ; he is right, after all, 
in saying what he thinks ; others say they will conform 
to the Church, and do not really do it after all." 

With these words he dismissed the prisoner, send ng 
him some assistance afterwards. 

One morning, near Christmas, Gilek was informed 
that he was to be publicly excommunicated. At eight 
o'clock he was taken to the church, and placed in the 
middle of a circle including the magistrates and clergy. 
The Jesuit, coming forward, declared that the obstinate 
and blinded heretic must be publicly excluded from the 
only true Church, and declared unworthy of the merits 
and intercession of the saints. He abandoned him, as 
he said, to the evil one and to hell. Gilek commended 
himself, body, soul, and spirit, to his Saviour, and 
remained calm and immoveable in the midst of the 
threats, anathemas, and looks of horror of all around 

After the ceremony, which seemed to be a mere 
empty form, the priests returned to the cha]'L;e, and 



exhorted the man they had just delivered over to 
perdition to confess to them, promising, with a show 
of friendship, to procure him all kinds of favours if he 
would but abjure, and to keep his secret faithfully if he 
had any murder to acknowledge. 

Gilek, smiling, begged them not to be troubled on 
his account, for his rejection by their Church gave him 
no uneasiness. 

His sentence was declared next day: he was con- 
demned to labour in chains at the public works in the 
town. He was set immediately to break the ice in a 
cistern; but he \vas so reduced by his sufferings 
that he could scarcely lift the hatchet. He was sur- 
rounded by a crowd of curious spectators, some 
insulting and mocking him, but others showing marks 
of sympathy. 

From this time he was employed in cleaning the 
streets of the city, his left hand chained to his right 
foot. It would appear that the life in the open air 
restored his strength, which must originally have been 
great; and it is evident that the life of a convict 
labourer, how^ever hard, was tolerable in comparison 
with his existence in prison. AVhen employed in 
cleaning the courts of private houses, he was brought 
into communication with several kind-hearted persons, 
whose sympathy and benevolence probably considerably 
softened his captivity. 

About a year and a half had passed in this manner, 
Avhen one morning in the year 1735, while he was em- 
ployed in his usual work, he was startled by the sound 
of the alarm-bell. A fire had broken out in Leuto- 
mischl : thick clouds of smoke were rising, and the 
whole town was in confusion. 


, At first, Gilek's only thought was how best to help 
others. Observing that the flames threatened the house 
of an old woman who had constantly shown him kind- 
ness, he hastened there, and finding his benefactress ill 
in bed, he succeeded in carrying her through the crowd 
to a place of safety. He was returning to the scene of 
conflagration when another acquaintance of his begged 
him to lead his cow out of the city. Gilek did so, and 
then, for the first time, it occurred to him to consider if 
he might lawfully avail himself of the opportunity of 
making his escape. He tied the cow to a tree, and then 
lay down near it, praying earnestly that the Lord would 
show him what he ouo'ht to do. 

" If no one comes to look for me till the evening," he 
thought, " I will look on it as an indication that I may 

He lay still and waited ; one and another passed by, 
but no one noticed him. When it was quite dark, he 
tried to break his chain with two large stones, and, 
wonderful to relate, succeeded. Tears of joy flowed 
from his eyes when he felt his chains drop off. He 
threw himself on his knees to thank God, and then 
proceeded towards the forest, through which he walked 
the whole night. 

At last fatigue and hunger made him slacken his 
pace, and towards morning he entered a solitary inn. 
The innkeeper and his wife were startled at the arrival 
of a man with disordered dress and hair, without coat 
or shoes. But Gilek related the history of the fire, and 
this drew their attention from his person. He took 
something to eat, and then penetrated again into the 
forest, where he continued his march for two days, 
taking the direction of the frontier. 

L 2 


At length he reached the mountains of the Saxon 
Switzerland, over which he must pass to reach Saxony. 
Exhausted with fatigue, hunger, and anxiety, he pain- 
fully toiled up the steep pass, leaning on two sticks. 
The fourth day of his journey, he reached the top of the 
mountain pass by midnight ; he found a spring, at which 
he quenched his thirst, and then, wearied out, he threw 
himself down on the soft green moss which carpeted the 
forest, and slept profoundly. But in a moment he 
awoke with a start ; it seemed to him that some one 
was ronsing him. . He looked round and saw two wolves 
moving towards him ! 

Alone, without means of defence, in the recesses of 
the forest, he saw the glaring eyes fixed on him in the 
darkness, and even his stout heart was ready to sink. 
He trembled in every limb ; bnt he remained motion- 
less, and prayed earnestly to his Saviour not to allow 
him to perish by so terrible a death. And marvellously 
was his prayer answered. The wolves appeared about 
to spring on him ; but, as if their hind feet had been 
nailed to the ground, they remained immoveable, in 
the posture of attack, but did not come nearer. Gilek 
redoubled his prayer, and suddenly the two savage 
beasts turned and fled. We may imagine his joyful 
gratitude to his Almighty Deliverer. Strengthened 
and encouraged, the poor traveller passed the frontier, 
and six days after he had left his prison arrived 
happily at Gerlachsheim, where he was received with 
joy and thankfulness by all. 

The Bohemian colony was, however, obliged soon 
after to leave this peaceful asylum. The Saxon 
<-<-overnment was alarmed by the complaints and threats 
of Austria, on account of the continual stream of 


emigration ; and the fugitives at Gerlachsheim, availing 
themselves of the hospitality of Prussia, established 
themselves, some at Berlin, and some at Eixdorf, in its 
neighbourhood, where they formed churches on the 
model of the Ancient Brethren's Church at Bohemia, 
like that which had been already established at 

Our hero joined the Bohemian Church in Berlin, and 
devoted himself to labour in this new field as heartily 
as his strength, reduced by long years of suffering, would 
permit. He gave himself principally, as he had done 
at Gerlachsheim, ^to the instruction of youth ; and in 
this occupation he quietly passed the remainder of his 
life, never showing any self-exaltation on account of 
his past sufierings, but walking humbly with his God 
as a pardoned sinner depending solely on Him. At the 
age of seventy-three he expired, bearing witness to the 
last to his firm dependence on the merits of Jesus 

History of Eosalie Linhardt. — The next history 
we shall relate gives the account of the escape of a 
family of secret adherents of the gospel in Bohemia, 
drawn from the autobiography of one of its members, 
and affords us another glimpse into the difficulties with 
which the Bohemians still attached to the gospel 
doctrines had to contend. 

Eosalie Linhardt, the daughter of a prosperous miller 
of Dragonitz, in Bohemia, was born in May, 1745, and 
brought up by devout Eomanist parents in the strictest 
practice of their religion. From an early age she seems 
to have been under serious impressions, and to have 
sought God earnestly according to her light. 


At the age of sixteen she was married to a man 
named George Herodez, who carried on a respectable 
business as a baker, and whose father had been one of 
the maoistrates of the town wdiere he lived. Soon after 


her betrothal, the young bride was alarmed by hearing 
from the priests that her husband's family had long been 
suspected of heresy. She readily promised she would 
warn her spiritual advisers as soon as she perceived any 
signs of the latent poison she had been taught to dread. 

But a year passed before anything occurred to rouse 
her fear. Her husband was kind and indulgent, and 
wisely left her at first to follow her own devotions 
unmolested, being probably aware that a premature 
expression of his own sentiments might close the door 
permanently to any prosj)ect of influencing his wife. 

Her confessor and some of his fellow priests came 
one day to pay the young people a visit ; and something, 
either in their manner or conversation, seems to have 
shaken for the first time Eosalie's entire confidence in 
them. She expressed this to her husband. He then 
let her further into the light of the real character of 
those whom she had thought so saintly, and who were 
really far from being " faithful shepherds." This led to 
fuller confidence between herself and her husband ; his 
arguments gradually convinced her of the falsity of the 
so-called miracles wrought by images, etc., and the 
uselessness of the rosary and similar observances. 

She gave up her stated prayers with the rosary ; but 
the old habits had not lost their power. She became 
very unhappy, and reproached her husband for per- 
suading her to renounce what had been such a comfort to 
her. " What happy moments I have lost ! " she cried. 
" My child," said her husband, tenderly, " it is written, 


' Pray witliout ceasing.' " But this could not satisfy lier. 
She returned to her old devotions continually ; and he had 
the patience and good sense not to urge her to desist. 

But an incident now occurred which led her to clearer 
views. Her father-in-law, who seems to have been an 
enlightened Bible Christian, came to see them one day, 
and taking the New Testament read to her the passage in 
John X., '' I am the door of the sheep," etc. He then asked 
her if she thought we might come to Jesus just as we 
are. " Yes," she replied ; " but still, if we visit a great 
lord we must be introduced, and so it must be with 
the Lord Jesus." The good old man explained to his 
daughter-in-law that the Saviour was not like an earthly 
magnate, but was willing to receive us just as we are, 
and that we need no other intercessor with our Heavenly 
Father. His words made a strong impression on his 
young hearer, and from that time she seems to have 
embraced the faith of the gospel with heart and soul. 

She now joined the little meetings of gospel Chris- 
tians who gathered together secretly at her father-in- 
law's house for Bible readings and prayer, and felt the 
blessing and advantage of this Christian communion. 
The old Herodez had preserved a Bible and several 
valuable religious books, which he had inherited from 
his ancestors of the old Brethren's Church. He was a 
firm adherent to their doctrines, and kept the faith, and 
sought to edify others in secret. 

But this could not last long. The unsleeping eye of 
the Komish power was upon them. The priests began 
to watch more carefully for suspected heretics ; and their 
attention was awakened by observing that the wife of 
young Herodez, who had been formerly so devout a 
Komanist, had ceased to bring offerings and kneel before 


the shrine of the Virgin. Father Wenzel, who seems 
to have been her confessor, made a pointed aUusion on 
one occasion in his sermon to one who had been a pious 
Christian before her marriage, but had now joined the 

A traitor, too, was in the camp. A cousin of George 
Herodez, a man named Noach, was persuaded by his 
wife to betray his own father to the authorities, in order 
to get possession of his property. The old man, who 
was eighty years of age, was accused by his son and 
daughter-in-law of possessing Lutheran books, and not 
fasting on Friday; and on the strength of this depo- 
sition he was seized and thrown into prison. But this 
was only the beginning of troubles. Noach never rested 
till he had betrayed all whom he knew to entertain 
Evangelical views ; and Eosalie's father-in-law, the elder 
Herodez, was thrown into an underground dungeon, 
with hands and feet chained, in company with his aged 
colleague Noach. 

Much attention was excited by this. The people 
naturally inquired why a man generally respected, who 
had been burgomaster for twenty years, should be im- 
prisoned and manacled like a common convict ; and the 
answer to all questions was, " He is a heretic ! " His 
son dared not move in the affair, for fear of being seized 
and forced into the army. All therefore devolved on 
his wife and mother, who undertook to have the prisoner's 
cause pleaded ; and Eosalie, fearless in the strength of 
her new faith, was indefatigable in her exertions. 
Friends were raised up, who secretly assisted them; 
among others, Eosalie's uncle, the Dean of Gutemberg. 
With the help of these friends, a memorial was drawn 
up and laid before the Consistory at Prague. But the 


matter remained long pending, and the devoted young 
daiiQ-liter-in-law was involved in her father-in-law's 
disgrace. Her own father and mother and other rela- 
tions were forbidden to speak or eat with her because 
she was a heretic ; and as they obeyed these commands 
strictly, she was entirely isolated from her family. 

'' This did not prevent me," she writes, " from visiting 
my father-in-law daily in prison, and conversing with 
him in the presence of his jailer. On account of these 
visits I was cited before the Consistory, examined 
closely by the priests, and then handed over to the 
secular arm. They treated me very roughly ; but the 
Lord gave me strength to persevere." 

She was to have been put under arrest immediately ; 
but the delicate state of her health induced her perse- 
cutors to allow her to return home for the night. " I 
went," she says, ''to my husband, and we passed the 
whole night in prayer to the Lord Jesus to assist and 
deliver us." 

Next day she was again examined for several hours ; 
and in answering the questions put to her she was 
sensible of the support and presence of the Saviour. 
She was to have been placed in the pillory, and a 
number of boys were prepared to pelt her with mud ; 
but she was released, on the same ground as before. 
Wliile she was under o-oino- examination before the 
judges, her husband's young brother, a child eight 
years old, was questioned in the next room, and actually 
beaten severely with rods, to make him confess that his 
mother and sister had Lutheran books and sang Lutheran 
hynnis. The courageous little fellow endured the pain 
without making any disclosure, only crying out in his 
agony, " Lord Jesus ! " 


'' Little rascal ! " cried his tormentors. " Why don't 
you cry ' Ave-Maria/ or ' Jesus-Maria ! ' " Wearied out 
with his firmness, they at last dismissed him. 

Meantime the old burgomaster remained in his prison, 
and his son and daughter-in-law were harassed with 
incessant annoyances and persecutions. One night the 
little family were surprised by a visit from their father. 
He had been allowed by the jailer, an old soldier 
who had known and esteemed many of the Lutherans, 
and was well-disposed to them, to come on parole, to 
warn his wife and children that a party of forty men 
were coming next day to search the house for Lutheran 
books, and that any who should find a single line 
of these books would receive ten crowns as a reward. 

" No words," continued the narrator, " can express our 
terror. We hastened to heat the stove and burn all 
our books, with many tears. My father-in-law returned 
to his prison, and we waited trembling for the morning. 
As soon as it was light the inquisitors arrived, and, 
finding nothing, they were in a great rage. One place, 
however, still remained to be searched — the loft — which 
was full of corn, among which we had ventured to leave 
a few books in hiding. But the mercy of God caused a 
heavy rain to fall, and inspired us with courage to say 
that if they brought out our corn and exposed it to the 
rain, they must pay us beforehand for the damage done 
to it. Being unable to pay, they ceased their search, 
and, apparently suspecting nothing, retired ashamed of 
their ill-success. The evening of the same day our 
father was liberated." 

But their troubles did not end here. The priests threat- 
ened them continually, questioning all who had visited 
the house, in hopes of being able again to denounce the 


suspected family. They lived in perpetual terror. In 
the midst of all this distress a son was born, who did 
not long survive his birth. The poor young mother 
became dangerously ill, and hoped for a speedy removal 
to the presence of her Saviour. 

But He had another lot in store for her. She gradually 
recovered ; and the efforts of their enemies to betray them 
were all, by the merciful care of God, defeated. No one 
would declare anything against them ; and after three 
years of anxiety, many fresh interrogatories, and in- 
numerable difficulties, the cause which had been pleaded 
so long before the government was declared in their 
favour, and they were proclaimed innocent. Their 
enemies were strictly forbidden to molest them, and their 
relations were allowed to renew their intercourse with 
them. The priests treated them with apparent kindness; 
but they dared not trust them, knowing themselves, in 
spite of all apparent friendliness, to be strictly watched ; 
they therefore gave up holding meetings, and contented 
themselves with reading the Word of God in private. 
The father died about this time, in full faith, exhorting 
his children to hold fast to the Saviour to the end. 

The persecuted family spent some years in peace. 
But meantime the young brother who had been so bold a 
witness for the truth had gone to work at his trade at 
Olmiitz, and there had heard so much of the Brethren's 
Church, that he returned home, declaring his intention 
of going himself to seek out these people, and ascertain 
if the reports he heard of them were true. He went 
accordingly to Berlin, was invited to Herrnhut, and 
obtained leave to remain there. He wrote to his family, 
telling them of all he had seen and heard; and they 
endeavoured to carry out the principles of the Church of 


the Brethren in their lives, especially in withdrawing 
from worldly gaieties. 

Eosalie lost her father soon after this. He had at- 
tached himself particularly to his Protestant son-in-law ; 
and Herodez and his wife had the comfort of being able 
to console their father's dying hours with words of 
gospel truth, and seeing him depart in the faith. From 
this time all the desires of the husband and wife pointed 
to Herrnhut. George Herodez went at last to visit the 
Church there, and returned home determined to leave 
all to join those with whom he could worship in spirit 
and truth. His wife entirely agreed with him ; and they 
were purposing to set forth, when the illness of Herodez 
put a stop to their plans. An accidental hurt he had 
received on his journey, followed by an attack of fever, 
brought him to the grave at the age of thirty-three. 
Four days before his death he took a tender leave of his 
wife, and asked her what she thought of doing after his 
decease. She promised him that she and her two 
surviving children (they had lost four by death) would 
leave all and go to Herrnhut. He was rejoiced at this, 
but was anxious as to her means of doing so. " The 
Lord Jesus will send me a travelling companion," she 
replied ; " and He is with me Himself." 

George departed in peace with the joyful hope of 
being reunited to his dear ones before the throne of God. 
The young widow was left in deep grief and much 
perplexity. For a woman with young children to make 
such a journey alone was impossible ; and in her case the 
strictest secrecy was essential, if she would carry out her 
plan. She could only commit herself to God, and await 
His leadincr. Sometime afterwards she had a visit from 
a man who brought greetings from her brother-in-law at 


Herrnliut, and an invitation to visit him there. She was 
at first afraid to trust the stranger, but finding he had 
been her husband's guide to Herrnhut, she begged him to 
return to ask her brother-in-law's help in forwarding her 
plans. He soon returned with encouraging messages 
from the younger Herodez, and advice to take with her 
all the property she could. She began to sell her goods, 
but soon found this gave rise to remarks, and she was 
obliged to desist. Fresh trials now assailed her. Her 
brother-in-law, from some unexplained cause, took fright, 
and consulted friends who were against the plan. One 
wrote to her that, as she could be saved in Bohemia, she 
ought to remain there. 

All this harassed her greatly ; but she still felt she 
ought to remove to a country where she had liberty 
of conscience, and could bring up her children in the 
truth. She sent for a M. Eoth, a pious friend, to whom 
she opened her mind, and who encouraged her, if she 
felt she was really actuated by a desire for spiritual 
advantages, to persevere. 

But her family and friends were not idle on their side. 
A highly advantageous second marriage was proposed 
to her, which would have placed her in affluence, if 
she remained ; while in leaving Bohemia she and her 
children were in danger of actual want. The pain of 
leaving country, family, and friends, and the dread of 
the evils in prospect, weighed on her, and she was almost 
shaken, for a moment, in her resolution. She at length 
mentioned the subject to her eldest child, a little girl of 
seven years, to whom she had often talked of Herrnhut. 

" My child," she said, " would you be willing to give 
away your toys to the childi'cn here, and come to 
Herrnhut ? " 


" Yes, mother," said the little one. 

'' But if they were to put me in prison for trying to 
go ? " asked the mother. 

" I would go and beg with my sister," said the child, 
" and bring you something to eat in prison." 

These simple words moved the mother to tears ; she 
was ashamed to see that her child had more trust than 
she had herself ; and, remembering her promise to her 
husband, she resolved to depart. She arranged her 
affairs as well as she could without attracting atten- 
tion, placing the proceeds of her sales in the hands 
of M. Roth till she could claim them. Then she spoke 
to a " messenger " to procure her a carriage for the 
journey. " I rely on you entirely," she said to him. 
" No," he replied ; " do not rely on me, but on the Lord 
Jesus, who alone can help us." These words, showing 
his Christian faith, cheered the poor lonely young 

She now proceeded every night to pack up in feathers 
a portion of the necessaries and valuables she wished 
to take ; as feathers were at the time a considerable 
article of export from Bohemia to Saxony: when all 
was done, the packages were transferred secretly to an 
inn about half a league off. 

On Palm Sunday, March, 1774, she put off her 
mourning and went to church, to escape all suspicion ; 
then paid a visit to her relations, and, as she says, bade 
them adieu in spirit, as she dared not declare her inten- 
tions. Next day, when out, she met Father Joseph, a 
priest she knew, who asked if she still thought of going 
to Saxony. Her heart beat with terror, but she turned 
it off as if playfully, by saying, " To be sure ; why not ? 
Come with me to-night, and carry one of the children 


for me ! " He thought she was in jest, and said no 

That night, at eleven o'clock, all those living near 
who were secretly gospel Christians met in the young 
widow's house, and united with her in prayer for God's 
protection in her perilous andertaking. " We separated," 
she says, " feeling that my fate would either be a happy 
refuge in the Brethren's Church, or else imprisonment 
and martyrdom." This was the alternative before her. 
She " counted the cost," and set her face resolutely 
towards the Promised Land of the Bohemian Protestants. 

With her two little girls, she then abandoned her 
house, and garden, and fixed property, and set out with 
her friendly messenger and her brother-in-law, who 
seems to have joined her. The little party walked to 
the inn where the luggage was awaiting them ; the 
carriage was prepared, and, with the good wishes and 
prayers of the friendly landlord, they set forth. They 
soon reached the banks of the Elbe ; but the boatmen 
were asleep, and for some time could not be roused. 
The poor fugitives were in much anxiety and alarm; 
however, they succeeded in passing the river before it 
was light, and reached Bobwitz, their first halting-place, 
where they were received by secret gospel Christians, 
but had to be concealed in the loft, because the master 
of the house, being accused of having Lutheran books, 
was expecting every moment to be taken to prison. 

The mother and her little ones were obliged to remain 
in this hiding-place two days and two nights, before 
another carriage a,nd driver could be procured. On the 
31st of March they proceeded to a shepherd's cottage, 
the last place in Bohemia where they met some who were 
secretly gospel Christians. Here they left their luggage 


till it could be sent for, and proceeded on foot through 
a thick forest, in heavy rain, and over a ground slij^pery 
with ice, on which the elder girl stumbled and fell many 
times ; the younger was carried by her uncle. As they 
approached the frontier, the messenger forbade them to 
speak, for fear of drawing the attention of the hussars 
who were on guard. The darkness was intense, and the 
poor wearied travellers had to walk in this way for 
several leagues, till at last they reached a farm in a deep 
valley, in which they passed the rest of the night. 

The next day was Good Friday. The brother-in-law 
returned to the shepherd's hut in a carriage to fetch the 
luggage, on pretext of bringing feathers to sell at the 
market of Zittau. To keep up this appearance, a 
messenger went to Zittau to engage a woman to come 
to meet the carriage at a neighbouring village and take 
the feathers, as if to sell. 

The fugitives meanwhile had to remain alone in the 
farm, where they were treated with much kindness by 
the good people. The day was passed in anxiously await- 
ing the return of her friends. It was not till eleven at 
night that the messenger came with the woman he had 
engaged ; and the brother-in-law and the carriage did 
not arrive till next morning. When the driver saw the 
two children and their mother, he at first refused to go 
further ; and it was only by much persuasion and double 
payment that he could be induced to go on. The brother, 
with the woman who was to personate the saleswoman, 
proceeded in the carriage with the packages, while 
Kosalie and her children continued their route on foot, 
under the guidance of the messen2jer. Still further to 
elude suspicion, he made them part company when they 
reached a point nearer the frontier, and, taking one 


path himself, directed the mother and children to take 
another. The paths met at last, and having engaged 
a girl to carry the wearied little ones by turns, they 
passed the frontier. 

Eosalie continues : '' When the messenger said, 
' There, we are now in Saxony,' I was overpowered with 
unspeakable joy. My children rejoiced with me, and 
we together thanked and praised the mercy of our 
Saviour, and sang aloud hymns of praise for His help in 
bringing us in safety. After taking some refreshment, 
we continued our route, and reached Zittau in the even- 
ing. But the carriage was not there, though I thought 
I had seen it on the way. I went into the house where 
we had intended to lodge, and, retiring to my room, 
thanked the Lord for His wonderful deliverance, praying 
Him to bring our companions in safety, even though my 
property should be lost ; for I felt such a sense of His 
presence that I could have resigned myself to lose all. 
As I came downstairs I saw the carriage stop at the 
door. I shed many tears of joy and gratitude at this 

On this, the night of Easter Eve, the poor mother 
and her little ones were able to sleep in beds for the 
first time for a week. On Easter Day she went to the 
Bohemian church, and for the first time eujoyed the 
blessing of hearing a Protestant sermon. In the evening 
a man came to tell her that the woman who was to take 
charge of her goods would be put in prison if thirty 
florins were not paid. She, of course, readily gave them, 
ill as they could be spared, and afterwards learned 
that she had been the victim of a sharper's trick. 

At Zittau she met several persons who had had business 
relations with her father, and who were astonished that 



one belonging to a family of such zealous Eomanists 
should have been able to leave the country ; they tried 
to persuade her to stay at Zittau, promising to show her 
every attention. But the noise and confusion which she 
heard from the people arriving from the public-house, 
on Sunday night, etc., disgusted her so that she would 
not remain another day at Zittau, and next morning, 
leaving her children at their temporary lodging-place, 
set off with the messenger-guide for Herrnhut. They 
arrived before noon, and the guide went immediately to 
greet her brother-in-law, who replied, " She has thought 
better of it, no doubt, and will not come." 

'' She is at the door," replied the guide. The brother 
could only thank God for His mercies to the forlorn 
widow. She was brought to a house near the church, 
where a Brother who knew Bohemian came to speak to 
her, and told her to wait some days, till she could 
know if she might remain. 

" Oh ! " she replied, " I can't wait. My husband told 
me to come to Herrnhut. I am here, and must stay." 

AVlien her visitor had left her, she went to her room, 
and prayed earnestly that the hearts of the Brethren 
might be made willing to receive her. The prayer was 
answered, and she met with a Avarm welcome. 

Next morning she returned to Zittau, where she found 
her two little ones clinging to each other, crying and 
sobbing, in terror lest their mother should not return to 
them. They were too early used to hear of terrible 
family tragedies. But when she appeared and answered 
to them that they were " going to Herrnhut," the joy of 
the little ones, who had been taught to look upon it as 
a " Land of Canaan," was great. 

The little family settled among the Brethren. Eosalie 


at first was hindered by her ignorance of German, which 
her children, as generally happens, learnt more quickly 
than she did ; but she appears to have gradually become 
" naturalised," and two years later was re-married to 
Martin Schon, a member of the Church. Her second 
marriage was a happy one, though it only lasted eleven 
years, when she again became a widow. She took part 
in the superintendence of the " Widows' house," at 
l^isky, another settlement of the Moravians, and appears 
to have spent the remainder of her life in active 
Christian usefulness and peace. Her two daughters 
were both married to missionaries, and she herself died 
at an advanced age, universally esteemed and respected. 

But meanwhile a dawn of better things was opening 
in Bohemia itself In 1781 the Emperor Joseph pro- 
claimed liberty of worship in his own states. A very 
limited and scant liberty it was, clogged with innumer- 
able restrictions ; still it was permission for the Pro- 
testants of the empire to exist. In many places, in the 
Salzburg country in particular, where the gospel 
Christians had suffered greatly, and been banished by 
thousands, this permission called into life churches 
where nothing like Protestantism had been suspected, 
and still more was this the case in Bohemia. Protestant 
parishes rose up as if by magic in the midst of the 
country supposed to be completely won to Eome. 
There were seven villages around Konigsgratz alone, 
and many more elsewhere, whose inhabitants in a 
body declared that they had remained Protestant in 
heart during more than a century, although submitting 
outwardly to Eome, and that they eagerly hailed the 
opportunity of confessing their faith openly. The choice 

M 2 


was only between the Lutheran and Eeformed Churches ; 
the Brethren's Church was out of the question. Still, 
for these poor long-oppressed people, it seemed an 

It was not, however, till after 1861 that full liberty 
of worship was accorded. 

And now, in our days, what answer can be made to 
the question as to the present state of Bohemia? 
The first view we might take of the country would not 
be altogether a cheering one. Bohemia has been made, 
thanks to the policy of the Emperor Ferdinand, a very 
decidedly Eomanist country. 

Whereas before the great battle of the AVliite Moun- 
tain, which crushed Bohemian liberties, there was only 
one Eomanist for every thirty-nine Protestants in the 
whole countr}^, noio there is only one Protestant to be 
found for forty-nine Eomanists. There are now about 
a hundred Protestant congregations scattered over the 
country, chiefly in the places which were formerly the 
centres of the old Brethren's Church; but these are 
hardly more numerous than the Eomish Churches in 
Prague alone. 

And even regarded as a pious Eomanist might regard 
them, the state of the Bohemian people is anything but 
an encouraging one. A system of forced conversions is 
little lilvely to train up even a religious and moral 
Eomanist people. The moral corruption is very deep and 
general, and scepticism not less so. The once generous 
and high-spirited people are now chiefly enthusiastic 
in the pursuit of amusements, and those often of a kind 
neither ennobling nor favourable to moralitj^ They 

Forty parishes were of the Reformed Church, and twenty Lutheran. 


have been kept for centuries in ignorance and mental 
subjection, and the corrupt tree is bearing its poisonous 
fruits. Superstition has produced, as it constantly does, 
unbelief; and infidel works are widely spread in the 
country where three centuries ago the works of the 
great Eeformers were welcomed eagerly. 

So far, it is a dark picture ; but it has its bright side. 
There is still a strong national sentiment in Bohemia ; 
and tliough at this moment the general fermentation of 
the public mind is rather political than religious, this 
feeling may easily be brought to bear upon questions 
connected with religious reformation. A commemora- 
tion of John Huss was, it is well known, enthusiastically 
celebrated a few years back. His portrait, with those 
of Commenius and Ziska, may be found in almost every 
house. Eomanists as well as Protestants are zealous in 
their efforts to disinter the volumes buried or hidden by 
their fathers ; and these books are now republished and 
read with avidity. 

In 1848, the Confession of the Ancient Church 
in 1574 was brought out with this remarkable title: 
" The Spiritual Diamond of Bohemia, lost since the 
battle of the White Llountain in 1620, and found 
again after 228 years." 

Since the increased liberties were granted, a few years 
ago, there has been a considerable religious aw^akening 
in the country, especially in the north-east. 

In 1868, a peasant of the village of Lukawick, being 
anxious for instruction in the gospel, set out in search 
of a Protestant \vhom he heard of as living in the 
neighbourhood. On the pretext of selling his corn, he 
went from house to house till he found the person he 
was in search of, who seems to have been an enlightened 


and pious man. They had a conversation which lasted 
for hours, and the inquirer returned home the joyful 
possessor of a Bible. He soon gathered round him a 
little company of persons anxious about their souls, 
and who met to read the ^Drecious volume ; and when a 
Moravian evangelist came to the village, he found a 
room set apart for the service, and a numerous and 
attentive congregation. 

Similar incidents occurred elsewhere. A desire was 
felt for the Word of God, and this prepared the way 
for the gospel teachers who were to follow. When 
once the country was thrown open to Christian work, 
the Moravian Brethren felt that no place could have a 
stronger claim on them than the sj)ot which had been 
the cradle of their Church. 

One of their first stations was Eosendorf, a village 
a few leagues from the frontier. It had formerly been 
one of the parishes of the Ancient Brethren's Church ; 
and the faith had been kept in secret during the long 
years of despotism and intolerance. The little company 
of believers held their service in retired nooks among 
the mountains, where they read together their sole Bible, 
the only one which had escaped destruction, and which 
was carefully treasured and deeply venerated. Later, 
when more liberty was allowed, they ventured to meet 
at the house of a peasant named Guth ; their numbers 
were small, but these few humble Christians were so 
full of zeal and desire for spiritual food, that they often 
walked to Herrnhut, a distance of from eight to ten 
leagues, to hear a gospel sermon, or to be present at 
some religious festival. They were in their turn visited 
by evangelists of Herrnhut ; but they longed for a chapel 
and a pastor. They named their wish to the Herrnhut 


brethren, and their request was heartily responded to. 
In 1864, the chapel was built, and the Pastor Beck, 
from Herrnhut, was installed as preacher. Fortunately, 
it had been built on a more spacious scale than would 
have been required by the original flock, for Sunday 
after Sunday every vacant place was filled by eager 
Eoman Catholic hearers. " We will only come," they 
said, "as long as the sermons are so good." "But 
hitherto," adds the narrator, " they have vainly expected 
the bad sermons, and the good ones have produced their 
fruit ! " In the first year of his ministry, Pastor Beck 
admitted twenty-six Eomanists into the Protestant 
Church; and the work has gone on steadily ever 

]^or are these hopeful signs limited to Eosendorf ; a 
similar awakening is perceptible in the whole of that 
district of Bohemia which borders on Silesia and 
Moravia, the ancient cradle of the faith, which has 
often been called the Cevennes of Bohemia. 

Since 1868, the most oppressive laws against the 
Protestants have all been abrogated, and the work of 
evangelization has made greater progress. Many 
evangelistic agencies have been at work to spread the 
word of God through the country, and to help in the 
establishment of schools and the trahiing of teachers. 

Within the last ten years, a remarkable instrument 
of good has been raised up in the person of John 
Hattwig. He is a convert from Eomanism, a man in 
humble life, without learning, and not originally speak- 
ing Bohemian ; but his lively faith and untiring energy 
seem to supply the place of earthly helpers. By earnest 
prayer and diligence he has acquired fluency in the 
Bohemian language; his simple, joyful, childlike faith 


seem to triumph over all obstacles, and his labours are 
truly apostolic. 

During the war of 1866, the priests arrested him as a 
Prussian spy, and he was seized and marched off at the 
point of the bayonet by a guard of four soldiers. Far 
from being dismayed, he was rejoiced at the oppor- 
tunity of speaking to his escort of Christ, which he 
did till he was brought before the commandant of the 

" It is quite true," he replied, calmly, when questioned 
by the officers. " I am a spy ; but my business is to 
betray the kingdom of Satan, and contribute to the 
victory of Christ's kingdom. As to the political affairs 
of this world, I know^ nothing, and wish to hear nothing, 
of them." He was at once released, and returned notliin^ 
daunted to his peaceful conquests. 

Several times his quiet self-possession and courage 
have defeated the efforts of those who have come to 
seize him or to interrupt the meetings he held. One 
day, when they were singing the concluding hymn at a 
service, a blacksmith of herculean strength, of well- 
known and ferocious character, entered the room. He 
could hardly have appeared there with peaceable inten- 
tions. " But," says Hattwig, " fearing some violence, I 
had begun the meeting with praying the Lord to protect 
and guard us, and send His angels to watch the 
house. And He did so ; the man could not come 
till all was over, and when the worshippers dispersed 
he remained sitting on a bench as if he expected 
another sermon from me. I did not wait to be asked. 
I pointed out to him that he was the wretched slave 
of his evil passions, and was rushing on like an 
unreasoning brute, to a career which must end in 


destruction. He evidently had not expected this 
attack, but he seemed as if chained to the spot ; and 
when at last he rose to go he made many apologies 
for having come. I replied, that there was no need 
for apology, and that he would always be welcome 
whenever a sermon was to be delivered in this place." 
Hattwig continues in " labours abundant," and is now 
the superintendent of an orphanage of which he was 
himself the founder. 

In another part of those mountainous and forest- 
covered tracts in which the early Brethren of Bohemia 
used to meet and worship, a revival has taken place 
within the last six or seven years. The awakened 
ones had been for some time previously in the habit 
of paying- an occasional visit to Herrnhut for instruc- 
tion and spiritual refreshment ; and one of these men, 
having a brother in the village of Zebus, frequently 
spoke to him during his visits of what was so deeply 
absorbing his own attention, and brought him a Bible. 
The brother was awakened by the perusal of the book : 
the flame spread ; and soon a little band of converts 
was found in the village. When they heard that a 
pastor (employed by the Free Church of Scotland) was 
to preach at a town five leagues off, they set out on foot 
to hear him, and begged that they also might be visited. 
Their request was granted. About this time, the Pastor 
Schubert had been asked to preach at the adjoining 
village of Brotzen. A room was engaged; but the 
difficulty was that there were no resident Protestants 
at Brotzen ; and the Austrian law did not permit any 
celel>i'ation of Evangelical worship unless some of that 
communion were residing on the spot. The pastor and 
his friends consulted the carter who was to drive 


them over. " I have long," he said, " been intend- 
ing to embrace the Evangelical faith openly. I am a 
Protestant at heart, and will be so in reality from 
this day." 

Thus the village of Brotzen was opened to the pastor. 
But the inhabitants of Zebus also were anxious to be 
present at the service ; while the priests were deter- 
mined to prevent their attendance. " The sermon 
shall be stopped, if it is to cost me my life ! " cried the 
curate of Brotzen. 

The appointed day came. The scattered Protestants 
of the neighbourhood hastened to Brotzen, and crowds 
of Roman Catholics from all the neighbouring villages 
joined the throng. The priest met them at the entrance 
of Brotzen, and tried to turn them back, but in vain. 
All thronged to the room which had been engaged. It 
was locked ; the priest had bribed the Jewish landlord 
with a large sum to return the payment he had 
received, and to refuse the use of his room. What 
was to be done ? The benches were flung into the 
street, and the crowd was waiting outside. The carter's 
room was too small to hold the tenth part of those 
who had come. A neighbour consented to lend his 
large court ; all was arranged in a short time for the 
preaching, and the pastor was anxiously watched for. 
He arrived, but was met by a summons to present 
himself before the mayor ; he went, accompanied by 
the friendly driver. 

'' Sir," said the mayor, " I cannot authorize your 
preaching here, as the village does not contain a single 
inhabitant who professes your religion." 

" Pardon me, sir," said the driver, " / am a man of 
the Evangelical Church." The mayor was astonished ; 


but he had nothing to reply, and the pastor and his 
friend repaired to the court where his congregation was 
awaiting him. 

He was about to begin when a fresh interruption 
occurred : the prefet of the district arrived, and desired 
the pastor to stop. " You have asked for authority to 
preach in a covered place, not in the open air," he said. 
" Your service is no concern of the Catholics, and the 
driver's room will more than hold the few Protestants." 

This was a new difficulty. But another neighbour 
came forward and offered the use of his room, which 
was a spacious one. The benches were brought, the 
windows and doors remained open ; and when the 
room was full about 2,000 remained at the entrance 
to listen. Three times the Komanists were ordered 
by the prefet to disperse, the gendarme trying to 
enforce the command with the butt of his gun ; but all 
in vain, no one would stir; and to avoid a tumult he 
thought it best to yield. Then orders were given 
to shut doors and windows ; but the pastor interfered, 
and represented that this was to outstep the limits 
of authority, that the master of the house had a right 
to keep his windows open, and that he himself intended 
to preach so as to be heard by all. Then he proceeded 
to preach the gospel earnestly and forcibly. After the 
service was over all dispersed peaceably ; but on all 
sides the remark was heard — 

" We never heard anything like this before ! " 

The prefet himself, who had listened attentively, 
went to the mayor, and told him he would do well to 
come and hear the next Protestant sermon ; for him- 
self, he owned he had never heard so good a one in 
his life. 


A fortnight later the same pastor preached at Zebus 
to a multitude of most attentive Eoman Catholic 
auditors; and in the autumn of the same year, a 
Moravian pastor in the employment of the Free 
Church of Scotland was established at Brotzen. The 
first regular service was on the anniversary of the 
commencement of the German Preformation, and 
Luther's famous hymn, " Eine feste Burg," was sung. 
Since then (the account was drawn up in 1870) twenty- 
eight men and women had joined the Evangelical 

Eecent accounts all show that the work is spreading, 
quietly but steadily, in many parts of the country. 
At Czaslau, the scene of so much persecution in the 
days of the Emperor Ferdinand, a new Protestant 
church and minister's house were erected on the day 
of the second centenary of Huss's martyrdom. It 
has been determined to commence a seminary for 
training Evangelical teachers in that city ; and it is 
likely to be a considerable centre of evangelization. 

We hear of gospel preaching and attentive audiences 
in that very Leitmeritz where so many died for the 
faith in the early days of the Bohemian Church ; and 
evangelists are at work in many parts of Bohemia 
and Moravia. 

We may take comfort, then, in the hope that He 
whose ear is open to the prayer of His faithful servants 
is answering the petitions poured forth in prisons and 
on scaffolds two centuries ago, and does indeed already 
"look down, and behold and visit this vine," which 
will yet bring forth fruit to His glory. 




Milicz, a Moravian of Crenisier, was the Archdeacon of 
Prague, and Secretary to the Emperor Charles iv., who was 
also the King of Bohemia. In 1364 he actually resigned his 
large emoluments, in order to devote himself entirely to the 
spiritual good of others. For several years he acted as an 
itinerant preacher, earnestly j)ressing heart-repentance on his 
hearers. At first his influence was impaired by the strange- 
ness of his accent, or his Moravian dialect ; but eventually 
his preaching made a deep impression. One of his disciples, 
in a memoir written of him, relates that many of his female 
auditors, who had taken pride in the luxury and magnificence 
of their dress, began to lay aside their lofty head-dresses 
studded with gems, and dresses adorned with gold and 

He was more and more convinced that the Church had 
sunk into the grasp of Antichrist. He treated on this 
topic in St. Peter's at Borne in 1367, but was silenced by 
the Inquisition. Urban v., however, who was just en- 
deavouring to re-occupy the old metropolis, released the 
culprit from his chains and sent him back to Prague. He 
there resumed his work ; but certain friars, envious of his 
popularity and writhing under his rebukes, commenced a 


fresh, attack on liini. He expired at Avignon in 1374, while 
the judicial process they had instituted was still pending. 
One of his contemporaries was an Austrian, Conrad of Wald- 
hausen, who adopted a like method in Vienna for awakening 
all classes of society. He was at length invited by the 
Emperor Charles iv. to aid the holy movement in Bohemia; 
and the sermons which he there delivered seemed to have 
produced a marvellous effect. Like Milicz, he proved him- 
self particularly obnoxious to the mendicants, who strove to 
silence him. Their opposition failed, however, and he died 

in peace in 1369 He is sometimes called "Yon 

Stickner," through an error of the press, which confounded 
him with another of the same class. — Hardwicke's History 
of the Church of the Middle Ages. 


Among the numerous followers of Milicz, none acquired 
so high a reputation as Matthias of Janow. . . . In 1381 he 
was collated to a stall in the cathedral church of Prague. 
The scandals there laid open to his gaze impelled him to 
rebuke the monks and clerics, in a work On the Ahomination 
of Desolation in the Church. A more important work, how- 
ever, is entitled Rules of the Old and New Testament, in 
which he handles the corruptions of the age with terrible 
severity. Among the remedies on which both he and Milicz 
had insisted was a greater frequency in the reception of the 
Lord's Supper; but a synod held in Prague in 1388 dis- 
continued the practice by forbidding laymen to communicate 
more than once a month. — Hardwicke's Church of the 
Middle Ages. 

In his long-lost work, De Begalis, Matthias thus repudiates 
tradition : 

" The Lord Jesus did not give any written law to His 
followers, although He might have done this in His lifetime 


in many ways, but merely placed His own good Spirit and 
the Spirit of His Father in the hearts of believers for a 
living and perfect law, and a generally sufficient rule of 

life Wherefore, too, His apostles, desiring not 

to burden the people believing in Jesus with various 
doctrines, inventions, and precepts, wrote few things, com- 
manded still fewer, and confirmed unshakeably by statutes 

fewest of all Whence it appears that those later 

persons have acted, and still act, cruelly and coarsely, who 
have introduced, and authoritatively confirmed, their numerous 

inventions, various doctrines, and rigid commands 

So that there is such a multiplicity, and so infinite a multitude, 
of such doctrines, and inventions, and commandments of 
men, that they have filled many books, and those very large 
and costly ones, which no one hardly but a rich man could 
procure ; nor even if he devoted himself to them throughout 
the whole of his life could he sufficiently read and beneficially 
digest them." — 'PsLttison's History of Evangelical Christianity/. 


The noble foundation laid by Huss in Bohemia was 
eminently successful. But, unhappily, the profession of 
Evangelical dogma became allied to political Protestantism, 
and suffered eclipse when the latter w^as extinguished at the 
battle of Weissenberg (the White Mountain) on the 8th of 
March, 1620. The nationality and religion of Bohemia were 
totally suppressed. The emperor's triumph was consolidated 
by persecution on the one hand, and by the eflbrts of the 
Jesuits on the other. The Slavonic (Slavonian) language 
was superseded by the German. Dr. Milman says, " Bohemia, 
as a province of the Christian world in insurrection against 
the unity of the Church, was even more beyond the pale 
of mercy than a heathen land." 

The lonely believer could only hold his tenets in secrecy. 


Yet there were many who sympathised with the individual 
feeling expressed by Johann Heertman in 1630 : 

" Say, wherefore thus by woes wast thou surrounded ? , 

Ah ! Lord ! for my transgression Thou wast wounded. 
God took the guilt from me, who should have paid it ; 
On Thee He laid it. " 

Eecent events have restored religious freedom and a measure 
of nationality to these countries ; and one unexpected result 
has been that the gospel messenger, in penetrating the outlying 
districts with the Word of God, has come on proofs of the 
continuance of Evangelical light during all these dark ages, 
and of the existence of individuals and small communities 
holding fast the profession of Evangelical doctrine under the 
ban of the law. The following are extracts from the reports 
of the British and Foreign Bible Society, 1870-1871, con- 
cerning colportage in Southern Austria. 

'•In one place (our colporteur) met with a small company 
of believers, who, hidden from the eyes of the multitude, and 
deprived of the ordinary means of grace, have for years upheld 
a clear testimony of Christ's finished work in the midst of 
much surrounding darkness ; with the help of some precious 
books, they and their fathers had retained the gospel in their 
neighbourhood from generation to generation. Some of these 

books . . . were two hundred years old " — Pattison's 

Evangelical Christianity. 

T^OTE D.i 

Confessions of the Church of the United Brethren of Bohemia, 
Moravia, and Poland.. 

It is remarkable that this comparatively small Church 
published, during the one hundred and sixty years of her 
existence (from 1457 to 1G17), no fewer than nearly sixty 

1 For this abstract of the Confession of Faith of the United Brethren, 
I am indebted to the valuable assistance of the Eev. A. Hasse, a 
leading member of this Church. 


different editions of her creed. Of these, twenty differed 
considerably, both as to form and contents. Some of these 
have been lost. Dr. Anthony GindeJy, in his History of 
the Bohemian Brethren (Prague, 1857 and 1858, two vols.), 
enumerates thirty-four as more specially entitled to the name 
of " Confessions." 

Many reasons may be advanced for this extraordinary 
literary activity. Conscious of their integrity, the Brethren 
were anxious to defend themselves against the many calumnies 
hurled against them. Then, again, it was necessary to prepare 
editions, not only in Bohemian, but also in German and 
Latin. Changes took place so rapidly in the circumstances 
of the Church, that these versions of the original documents 
underwent various alterations, till they came to be looked on 
as distinct productions. And, thirdly, their doctrinal views 
were modified by their increasing diligence in the study of 
God's Word and progress in understanding it ; and after 
1517 the influence of the Protestant reformers is clearly 

The following remarks have reference to the chief Con- 
fessions, as enumerated in a list given in an essay of the 
Brethren's bishops written in 1572 (Croger's History of the 
Aticient Brethren's Church, vol. i., p. 86). 

I. Presented in 1167 to Eok}cana and George Podiebrad, 
King of Bohemia. The following occurs in this first 
Confession : 

" He who has right, true, and living faith has also power 
to mortify all evil in himself. Whoso appropriates Christ's 
merits, obtains through Him forgiveness of sins, and thereby 
the power of His resurrection ; so that he loves Him, cleaves 
to Him, and becomes thus a new creature through the seed 
of the Divine Word. But all outward righteousness and 
good works, done according to the mind of the flesh, are 
unavailing to salvation, for the childlike spirit is wanting." 
Further, they warn against danger of a man's deceiving 



Limself or tlie people by speaking of the appropriation of tn© 
merits of Christ without having the true Spirit of God, and 
thus abiding in the old Adam, in the sinful life of the world. 
They say, if any one asks concerning extraordinary revelations 
made to them, he is to be told that they regard the greatest 
revelation to consist in the conviction, in the Spirit, of the 
truth as it is in Christ Jesus, and of this being the earnest of 
their salvation. They declare it must not be supposed that 
they condemned all who did not hold to them. Whoso kept 
to Christ in living faith would be saved, to whatever Church 
he belonged. With all such they wished to stand in the 
unity of the Spirit. 

II. Confession of 1468 (or, according to Dr. Gindely, 1470). 
This Confession was presented to King George Podiebrad and 
the Bohemian Diet. So the Brethren write : *' We inform 
your majesty that we purpose to bring forward distinct, 
indubitable passages of Scripture given us by God, to prove 
(especially if there should be a council of the whole Christian 
Church) that men do right to withdraw from the obedience 
claimed by the Romish Church ; that the authority of the 
popes is not grounded on the power of the Spirit of God — 
thus their blessing or curse derives no power from the power 
of Christ and His apostles ; that their rule is, on the contrary, 
an abomination before God ; that they do not possess the 
keys of discernment between good and evil, nor the power to 
bind and loose. The same holds good of the popish legates, 
who tread in the footsteps of the popes, and walk in their 

III. The third Confession (fourth and fifth of Gindely) 
appeared in 1504, and has fourteen articles. In the intro- 
duction, the Brethren, on the sole ground of Holy Scripture, 
profess adherence to the Apostles' Creed, as also to the creeds 
of Mcaea and of Athanasius. 

" 1. Of God the Father," it is said, '* we believe that He 
in mercy gave to the world for its redemption and salvation, 


His only Son, begotten from all eternity, through whose merit 
the only Father works salvation according to the purpose 
of His election. We believe in the Father when we accept 
His testimony from heaven concerning His dear Son. We 
believe on God the Father when we heartily love Him, the 
Almighty Creator of heaven and earth, and when we, 
according to knowledge and ability in our deeds, keep His 

"2. Of Christ, we believe that He is the only true God, 
equal to the Father and the Holy Ghost in essence, power, 
and wisdom, even proceeding from the Father, and who also 
made the world. That He might fulfil the promise of the 
Father, He descended from heaven for the salvation of men, 
partook of human nature, was seen on earth by the eyes of 
men, was cruelly nailed to the cross, and breathed out His 
soul along with His innocent blood ; on the third day He was 
again awakened from the placid slumber of the grave, and 
after forty days was borne aloft in a luminous cloud. He is 
seated at the right hand of the Father, as a faithful messenger 
on the throne of grace, advocating those who have received 
the heritage of glory. He never more forsakes His Church ; 
all creatures are subjected to Him, and confess that He is 
Lord. When He descends again, all His enemies shall be 
subject to Him. We believe in Christ when we own the 
truth of all His commandments, which require from us faith, 
trust, and love towards Him. We believe on Him when we 
owm Him to be our God and Saviour, receive all His words 
with full confidence, embrace Him with undivided love, 
and are united to His true members in faith and love. 

'' 3. Concerning the Holy Ghost, we believe that He is 
only true God with the Father and the only begotten Word, 
and proceeds from both. Through His gift of faith, whereby 
He quickens, renews, and changes, every believer attains to 
the participation of the meritorious grace, the justification, 
the truth, the strength, and complete redemption of Christ. 


By Him every believer attains to the participation of the 
meritorious grace, the justification, the truth, the strength, 
and the complete redemption of Christ. By Him the holy 
Church is firmly established, just as He also purifies, justifies, 
sanctifies, governs, gathers, strengthens, and renders faithful 
every member in the true faith. The Holy Scriptures have 
been inspired by the Spirit ; and it is through Him that men 
understand them. By Him the members of the Church are 
united. From Him proceed the gifts for the government of 
the Church, and all that belongs to the life of glory. AYe 
confide in the Holy Ghost when we give full assent to the 
Holy Scriptures. We believe in the Holy Ghost when we, 
with a clear understanding, love Him in faith unfeigned, 
and preserve till the heavenly glory all His revelations in 
fellowship with those members on whom He has breathed. 

'' 4. We believe in one Holy Catholic Church, the gathering 
of all Christians called of God and enlightened by the Holy 
Ghost ; outside of which there is no salvation, and in which 
there is no condemned soul, the true Church. The visible 
Church contains men evil and good. We do not announce 
ourselves to be the true Church, but we strive to become 
members of it through the profession of, and obedience to, 
the truth. We have chosen the narrow, painful, and reviled 
road which Christ Himself, the Sa\dour and also the Church, 
His bride, condemned and rejected by the world, walking in 
the footsteps of Christ, has trodden. We do this rather than 
desire the enjoyment and the pursuit for a season of the 
lusts of the world." 

It is clear that the Brethren laid the chief stress on the 
essentials of Christianity, viz., the grace of God in Christ, 
and the acceptance of this grace through faith ; and further, 
that there is no trace of belief in the efficacy of the sacra- 
ments in themselves, by mere outward participation; but 
that, on the contrary, repentance and forgiveness of sins, with 
faith, love, and hope, as well as the following after Christ, 


are demanded. The Bretliren draw a clear line of distinction 
between living faith, on the one hand, and dead knowledge 
and mere literal orthodoxy on the other. Further, they 
ground all doctrine on the Word of God, as contained in the 
Holy Scriptures. The teaching of these Bohemian Brethren, 
already, before Luther's Reformation, may therefore in its 
essential points be termed Evangelical, though it still 
needed purification. Of this the teachers of the unity were 
subsequently well aware, as is proved by later Confessions. 

IV. The Confession of 1508, as drawn up by Lucas of 
Prague. Here, testimony is specially borne against purgatory 
as a human invention, and not as a scriptural doctrine. It 
is affirmed that Christ has obtained the purification from sins 
by His blood, and that therewith is closely connected the 
right knowledge of grace, of repentance, faith, love, and hope. 
The separation from the Eomish Church is also justified by 
the testimonies borne to the corruptions which existed within 
her pale ; such, for instance, as were referred to in the 
writings of St. Bernard and the Italian poet, Petrarch. 

V. The fifth Confession (or ninth of Gindely) was that of 
1525, which was presented to King Lewis. It contains the 
reasons, and the history, of the Brethren's separation from 
the Romish Church, with the declaration that the Brethren, 
as Bohemian Christians, had been constrained for their 
salvation's sake to establish a distinct community. 

VI. The sixth Confession was issued in 1532, and drawn 
up by John Huss, perhaps aided by John Augusta. As 
the first announcement of the Brethren's doctrines after the 
German Reformation, it shows the influence of that work. 
It was translated into German, and presented to George, 
Margrave of Brandenburg, to whom the education of King 
Lewis had been intrusted. This document contains a 
distinct statement of the doctrines of repentance and of faith 
in the gospel, with forgiveness of sins for him who with 
true repentance believes the word. Hence arises a new 


covenant of man witli God, and this covenant leads to a 
justification of the sinner, and a new obedience {i.e. the 
•walking according to the Spirit, Kom. viii.). Whoso abides in 
this covenant is prepared to good works, i.e. the fulfilling of 
the commands of God ; this is the duty of a pardoned sinner ; 
but it affords no righteousness before God, still less can the 
sinner's guilt be thereby removed. But the believer receives 
the armour of God, i.e. the strength of the inward man for 
the contest against the devil, the world, and his own flesh. 
The victory in this contest arises from firm faith in Christ, 
notwithstanding the sinfulness which still cleaves to us. In 
perseverance to the end are to be found our blessedness here 
below and our hope of eternal life. 

During the intercourse of the Brethren with Luther and the 
other Reformers, both German and Swiss, several new and 
revised editions of former Confessions appeared. One of these 
was printed at Wittenberg in 1738, under Luther's auspices, 
and with a preface from his pen. 

Gindely states that the Confession of 1564 was a new 
document, and was drawn up by Peter Herbert. It was 
translated into German and presented to the Emperor 
Maximilian. The same writer says this Confession difi'ered 
materially from that of 1535, especially regarding the doctrine 
of the Lord's Supper. 

It is this Confession of 1564 which Peter Hall, in his 
Summary of the Protestant Confessions (London, 1842) speaks 
of as the ''Confession of 1573." But Dr. Gindely declares 
that the edition of the last-named year was only his German 
translation of the edition of 1564 (originally written in 
Bohemian). Hall gives the contents of the twenty chapters, 
or at least, extracts of the articles. 

The copy of the edition of 1573 presented to the Emperor 
Maximilian in 1575 was signed by seventeen noblemen 
and one hundred and forty-one knights, who were all 
members of the Brethren's Church. 




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